Tensions were high enough in the Steel City already as the Pittsburgh Steelers try to rebound from an ugly 0-1-1 start to the season, but then wide receiver Antonio Brown raised more heat with a cryptic tweet.
A fan on Twitter ripped Brown and claimed the Pro Bowler wide receiver wouldn't be able to put up such strong numbers on any other team. Brown responded with appears to be a trade request.
The Steelers are already without star running back Le'Veon Bell, who didn't sign his franchise tender and has opted to sit out the first two games. Though the offense has performed at a high level without Bell (thanks to the emergence of second-year back James Conner), replacing Brown simply isn't possible.
But as Mike Clay of ESPN noted, it's unlikely Brown is actually requesting a trade, but is rather defending himself, and rightfully so. So Steeler fans should only take that tweet with a grain of salt, because there's never been an indication that Brown is unhappy in the Steel City.
Through the team's first two games, Brown has compiled 18 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers played to a 21-all draw vs. the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, then lost a 42-37 home shootout against the Kansas City City Chiefs on Sunday. It's the first time since 2013 where the Steelers did not pick up a victory through the first two weeks.
The Steelers offense has been a machine through the first two games, but the defense continues to be the weak link of this team. It was a no-show late in the regular season a year ago, and in their 45-42 AFC Divisional loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars a year ago.
With Bell sitting games out, there appears to be some drama in the Pittsburgh locker room. Brown's trade request (?) won't do anything to calm the storm, but fans shouldn't take it too seriously for the time being.
But without a doubt, next Monday's Week 3 road contest with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers becomes all the more crucial. The Steelers simply can't lose that one.