When the 2019 season begins, it’s likely that Antonio Brown – one of the NFL’s most talented wide receivers – will still be playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But Brown keeps hinting he wants to be a San Francisco 49er.
Brown, now in a dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and coach Mike Tomlin, who benched Brown for the final game of the 2018 season because he declined to participate in practice, says he wants out of Pittsburgh.
And, yesterday, Brown on Instagram started following the 49ers and unfollowed the Steelers. Later, Brown posted three photos to Instagram, one of which is a picture of former 49ers wideout Jerry Rice – a Hall of Famer and all-time receptions leader – with a picture of a goat (signifying greatest of all time).
This follows his back-and-forth with 49ers tight end George Kittle on Twitter earlier this week when Brown seemed to indicate he’d like to come to the Bay Area.
Brown, however, is among the league’s most gifted players. He led the NFL this season with 15 touchdown catches and twice has led the league in receptions and yardage. He turned 30 this year, so he has a few productive years left, and he signed a four-year contract extension with Pittsburgh in 2017 and would likely cost the Steelers dearly to trade or release him. According to the website Over The Cap, if Pittsburgh trades him before June 1, it would still owe him more than $21 million. If the team trades him after June 1, it would owe him more than $7 million. Either way, the Steelers may try to work out this disagreement to keep Brown.
But for now, at least, Brown has some 49ers fans excited about the long-shot possibility of perhaps the NFL’s most explosive receiver joining the Niners offense.