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'Lack Of Communication' Reason Antonio Brown Did Not Play Sunday

AB's agent let Coach Tomlin he was ready to play Sunday; 'but playing wasn’t on the menu'

January 02, 2019 - 12:56 pm

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin said during his final news conference of the season Wednesday that  he stands by everything he said about Antonio Brown’s injury last week and that after Friday’s practice it “became difficult to communicate with him.”

“When he came in and expressed discomfort in his knee on Friday and the fact that he wouldn’t be able to participate on Friday that’s when we sent him to get an MRI and at that time I instructed him after he gets the MRI to go home to get off his feet to lay low and that I would communicate with him Friday evening.”

Brown was listed as questionable because Tomlin wanted to “leave the light on” for Brown to possibly play on Sunday.

Tomlin confirmed Wednesday Brown did not get an MRI.

Tomlin said after Friday’s practice is when it “became difficult to communicate and catch up with him. I wasn’t able to communicate with him on Friday evening or Saturday morning so we when had our Saturday mock game or walk through and he was unavailable and we hadn’t communicated with him, then it became something altogether different.”

Tomlin said on Sunday morning he received a call from Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus.

“Drew Expressed that he (Brown) was feeling better and that he would potentially be able to participate, I outlined to Drew that decisions weren’t made like that but I would be interested in visiting with him prior to the game but playing wasn’t on the menu,” said Tomlin.

During his meeting with Brown, Tomlin said AB asked what he could do to help the team.

“I said the best thing he could to do in terms of helping us win the game is to be there and support his teammates, he agreed to do that.”

Reports are that Brown left at halftime during Sunday’s finale at Heinz Field against Cincinnati.

Tomlin said he doesn’t know if Brown left early. “As the game began to unfold obviously I get occupied with the things that are at hand. I hear that he left the stadium, I don’t confirm that because again I was centered around the guys that were performing in stadium.”

Tomlin confirmed that Sunday before the game was the last time he spoke to Brown and that the while he didn’t get into specifics the issue will be addressed.

Related: Antonio Brown May Want Traded But It Probably Won't Happen

“Obviously we take his lack of communication, his lack of presences particularly on Saturday prior to the game to be something that is very significant. It will be handled appropriately so.”

But Tomlin adds Brown not playing on Sunday was not a form of punishment.

“He was absent due to injury and lack of communication,” said Tomlin.

Tomlin also said the Steelers have not formally received a trade request from Brown.

“I’m not going to speculate in terms of the where the discipline might go and things of that nature, just know that it’s going to be addressed and it will be addressed and needs to be addressed for obvious reasons.”

Tomlin also confirmed that Brown skipped Monday’s team meeting.

So does Tomlin think that Brown quit on the team?  "You can describe it however you want to describe it but there was a lack of communication there that can lead to thoughts that can go in many directions. The bottom line is that we were playing a significant game and he didn't go a good enough job of communicating and being available in the hours leading up to that performance so we needed to make decisions pertinent to getting prepared to play.  Obviously there are some things within that you can infer."

Watch Tomlin's entire press conference:

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