La Canfora On Steelers' Drama: "It Takes A Village"

Antonio Brown is at fault for the Steelers' latest drama, sure, but so are several other members of the organization

Reiter Than You
January 04, 2019 - 8:41 am

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There’s been a lot of drama for a lot of years in Pittsburgh; the Antonio Brown saga is simply the latest example.

And a lot of people are at fault, from Brown to Big Ben to Mike Tomlin to the Rooneys.

“There’s no excuse for a guy going AWOL three times in a year, and that’s what he did,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on Reiter Than You. “That’s all on him. Do I think Ben is the easiest guy to work with all the time? No. Do I think Tomlin has allowed this culture of freedom to go a little too far? Absolutely. Should there have been more consequences the first time (Brown) went AWOL? Yeah. The organization should have tapped (Tomlin) on the shoulder sooner and said, ‘Dude, the next time this guy doesn’t show up for a meeting, he probably shouldn’t play the next week. We should suspend him for a period of time.’ So I think it takes a village to get this screwed up.”

The Steelers played this season without Le’Veon Bell, arguably the top running back in football, and played Week 17 without Antonio Brown, arguably the top wide receiver in football. Pittsburgh has been highly successful over the years, but Mike Tomlin’s player-friendly culture may have lost focus.

“You don’t win as many big games as Mike Tomlin has won if you’re not doing something right,” La Canfora said. “But the last couple of years, it’s gotten a little more off the edge. They’ve got some issues there. They festered last year, but they were able to put it together and win late. This year, they couldn’t win late. This stuff isn’t as cute and quirky when you’re outside the playoffs and you were once 7-2-1.”

What happens from here, nobody knows. But there’s a very real possibility that Brown has played his last game for the Steelers.

“Does this become a Le’Veon Bell situation?” La Canfora asked. “No one thought the Le’Veon Bell situation would go where it went with him skipping a season. Will Antonio Brown get that dug in? Or can Mike Tomlin and the Rooney family sit down with him and Ben in a room and squash some of this? I don’t know. They don’t know. There’s people in that organization I talked to today that said ‘Look, we hope we can talk him off the cliff. If we can’t, could we make a trade? Yeah. Could we stomach the cap hit if we make the cap hit almost a wash? Yeah, if we have to, we will. We hope it doesn’t go there. But it’s a long offseason and we’ll have to see how much of this can be sorted out.’”