The past few weeks have been rough for Steelers fans. First, the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Then, news broke that star wide receiver Antonio Brown had been benched for the game due to an incident the prior week involving him missing practice. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of news surrounding Brown, from reports of him asking for a trade to owner Art Rooney II weighing in and saying the team won’t release him but “all other options are on the table.” Now, it seems, the team is open to trading him.
Merril Hoge, long-time NFL analyst and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back, stopped by the CBS Local studios on Friday and we asked him about the situation in Pittsburgh. Hoge, who was in town promoting his book “Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and The Plot to Destroy Football,” told us that he does not expect Brown to be back next season.
“I know that organization. They’re not going to sit there and go back and forth,” Hoge said. “They will sit down, cooler heads will prevail, and they will look at all of the options that they have. But it is my feeling that neither one of those guys [Bell or Brown] will be there next season.”
In addition to not expecting the wide receiver to be back with the team next season, Hoge also told us he had a problem with the way that Brown handled notifying the team that he would not be playing in the final game.
“I just don’t see how you can keep moving on in the way that Antonio Brown has handled things,” Hoge said. “Of all the things that he has done, the one that disturbs me the most is having your agent call for you. You’re supposed to be a man, a pro, and you should take pride in that. I’m sure you want to be treated like a man and like a pro. Then act like one.”
“Don’t have your agent call ownership,” Hoge continued. “You have those numbers. Walk in that office. You talk to the coach, the owner, the trainer and tell them that your knee is hurt.”
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus addressed the receiver’s offseason situation earlier this week, saying that Brown has been a great teammate.
“I’m just gonna say that Antonio is a great, great player,” Rosenhaus said. “A tremendous competitor. A great teammate. Whatever happens this offseason, we’ll make the best of it. I don’t have any particular comment on what the Steelers may or may not do. Antonio has had a Hall of Fame career there and we’ll be ready for whatever happens next.”
Hoge’s book, “Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and The Plot to Destroy Football” is available now at all retailers.