Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown was not asking for a trade when he tweeted “Trade me,” his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN on Tuesday.
Rosenhaus also told ESPN that Brown missed team meetings and a film session Monday because of a “personal matter” that “was unrelated to the tweet or his relationship with the team.”
The Pro Bowl receiver appeared unhappy during and after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 42-37 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon and his mood hadn’t seemed to have improved by the next morning.
Ryan Scarpino, a former Steelers media relations assistant, claimed in a tweet Sunday that Brown would not be nearly as successful away from the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
In response, Brown tweeted Monday morning: “Trade me let’s find out.”
Rosenhaus said Tuesday: “The tweet yesterday was not in reference to anything other than Antonio responding to a person he knows. It was not directed towards a trade, or wanting to be trading. It was a personal response to a former Steelers employee who insulted him. Any idea he was asking for a trade is not accurate.”
Rosenhaus’ words should be good news to Steelers fans, who already are dealing with the continued absence of Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell and an 0-1-1 start to a season that began with Super Bowl aspirations.
Brown, arguably the best receiver in team history, issued an apology last week after physically threatening ESPN writer Jesse Washington via Twitter over a profile Washington wrote about Brown.
“I need to be better spiritually and professionally,” Brown stated at the time.
On Sunday, Brown had nine catches for 67 yards, third best on the team, after being targeted by Roethlisberger 17 times. Early in the fourth quarter, Brown was captured by a TV camera engaging in a heated confrontation with first-year offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner.
Later, Brown “appeared to be sulking,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, when he walked off the field by himself as teammates celebrated a Roethlisberger touchdown that pulled the Steelers to within five points with under two minutes remaining.
Brown also left the locker room without speaking with reporters, an unusual move for the typically outgoing player.
“Anything you see between AB and the coaches, AB has an incredible drive to win. He just wants to win. That’s all that that is,” Rosenhaus said Tuesday. “That’s not anything more than him encouraging his coaches and teammates to win. And that’s what his entire focus is on. Any notion, any speculation otherwise, can be put to bed. This is a non-story that has been blown out of proportion. We can end this right here and now.”
Sept. 19, 11:05 a.m.: This article was updated with quotes from agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Sept. 19, 9:25 a.m.: This article was updated to mention that Antonio Brown reportedly missed team meetings and a film session on Monday. A quote from Ben Roethlisberger was also added.
Sept. 18, 11:45 a.m.: This article was updated to indicate that Ryan Scarpino is a former Steelers employee.
This article was originally published Sept. 18 at 9:45 a.m.