Koll: Antonio Brown Is The Steelers Gift That Keeps on Giving

Steelers fans can already sit back and enjoy the destruction elsewhere

Matt Koll
August 12, 2019 - 11:59 am
Antonio Brown

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” is one of my favorite movies. Not just Christmas movies, but movies period.

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In it, there is a scene in which the main character Clark Griswold gets his much anticipated Christmas “bonus” in the mail. He had been waiting for the extra bump in order to install a pool in his backyard.

In front of his entire family…wife, kids, parents, in-laws and slightly degenerate cousins that have all congregated at his house for the holiday season…Clark opens the bonus to find that it isn’t the money he had hoped for but it is a “one year membership in the Jelly of the Month Club.”

Seconds after announcing this, a character known as “Uncle Eddie” in his hilarious, vapid ignorance exclaims, “Clark, that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.”

I can’t help but to think about that line and chuckle when I see all that has gone over the past few days with Antonio Brown.

Here we were just a few short months ago, sitting through the national narratives that Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger didn’t treat him fairly and that Brown was somehow oppressed by the Steelers.

That somehow he wanted to leave the Steelers because Ben didn’t treat him like family or that they didn’t let him play in Week 17 against Cincinnati despite his desire to.

As Steelers fans, you knew.

You knew what Antonio Brown was like to deal with. You knew that he went Facebook Live during what was supposed to be a private locker room celebration and meeting after a playoff victory. You knew he threatened reporters and hinted at wanting to be traded on social media. You knew about his reckless behavior including throwing furniture out of an apartment window that was stories high, about driving 100+ mph on McKnight Rd.

You even knew about the things on the field, like missing a week of training camp mysteriously, blowing up on the sidelines and throwing water coolers or screaming in the face of his coaches. Oh, and the reported practice blow up on Ben Roethlisberger and subsequent disappearance the rest of the week leading up to that Week 17 game.

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You knew. But maybe the football world didn’t. Or maybe didn’t quite understand what happened. Or maybe it was just Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock and the Raiders.  

Whatever the case, Antonio Brown is causing destruction elsewhere and to be honest, there is a sweet satisfaction in that. After Brown had been traded for just a 3rd and 5th round pick, there were many analysts that declared Brown ultimately “won” the months long battle between he and the organization.

The Steelers got screwed in letting a talent like Brown walk out the door for such a little price.

Oh, but the price will be paid. And it will be paid all year long, Clark.

Brown hasn’t even gotten onto the field yet in a Raiders uniform and he’s already somehow frozen his feet to the point of not being able to practice.

Not that he would even be able to practice anyway, as he has now filed a grievance against the NFL for making him switch helmets for this season because the one he’s used to wearing is now out of compliance.

He has gone so far as to say he will retire if he can’t wear the right helmet and tried to sneak his old helmet into Raiders practice. NFL PR man Brian McCarthy tweeted Monday morning that Brown will not be able to practice, play or get paid if he doesn’t wear the correct helmet.

Remember when the Steelers drama started before the season even began? Remember when off the wall issues like this would come storming (or helicoptering) into Latrobe before the first regular season snap?

It’s almost a sense of rejoice watching this all unfold. I can’t help but at least slightly enjoy watching Brown taking his insane antics on the road, never to return to Pittsburgh as a member of the home team again. A relief, no doubt.

I don’t expect it to end here, either. I don’t believe Brown will miss any games (or his money) by not complying with this helmet policy. But this won’t be the end of the nonsense. Why would it?

If we’ve learned anything over the past few years it’s that the Antonio Brown drama and distraction monster can strike at any time. The Raiders are now in the process of learning that themselves.

Oh, and that return for Brown hasn’t looked all that bad either to this point. You could argue the extra two picks in return allowed them at least more comfortability in using their first and second round picks to move up to 10th overall and draft Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. He racked up 10 tackles in the first half on Friday night.

Yes, I know one preseason game. But I also like what James Washington showed on Friday as well and all reports out of camp say that Ben and Donte Moncrief have gained an almost immediate chemistry.

The Steelers may never fully replace his production when he was actually on the field and at his best. Antonio Brown will likely get his catches. He’ll get his yards. He’ll get some touchdowns. But I’m very interested to see how those weigh against the baggage he’ll bring along the way. I’m interested to see how that stat line actually translates to wins on the field.

Now that they moved on from him, Antonio Brown is the Steelers gift to the Raiders that keeps on giving all year long….and probably beyond.

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