Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown decided to sit out the team's Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals following an altercation with Ben Roethlisberger, according to Ed Bouchette and Gerry Gulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Brown was initially ruled out for the game because of a knee injury. But according to Bouchette and Gulac, Brown actually decided to sit out practice for the week and not suit up - following a confrontation with Roethlisberger at practice.
The report says that the argument took place last Wednesday, and Brown became "disgusted and threw a football in Roethlisberger’s direction." Even though he skipped practice, the team expected Brown to play in Sunday's game anyway.
Brown also never returned a phone call from a teammate and skipped a mandatory meeting, per Bouchette and Gulac. The Steelers managed to beat the Bengals 16-13 anyway, but Brown's future in Pittsburgh is now in doubt following these antics that surely drew to the ire of his teammates and coaches.
Brown finished the season with 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns. It marked the sixth straight season in which Brown recorded at least 100 catches and 1,000 yards.
2018 was a drama-filled season for the Steelers, who lost four of their final six games to finish 9-6-1 and miss the playoffs. Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell sat out the whole season after failing to reach a new contract with the team. Brown also responded to a Twitter troll and challenged the Steelers to trade him.
What This Means
The Steelers have to decide if it's worth keeping Brown after this season. He'll be 31 this offseason and may only have a couple of prime years left. And if he's going to put himself before the team, this prideful Steelers organization won't put up with it much longer.
It's going to be a long and interesting offseason for the Steelers, who need to figure out which players are all in for 2019.