Dunlap: Antonio Brown's Absence A Tad Odd

Steelers star WR has been silent

Colin Dunlap
August 06, 2018 - 1:36 pm

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Where in the world is AB? 

Seems we haven't heard from Antonio Brown --- at least in comparison with the regularity we normally hear from Antonio Brown --- in a really long time. Hope something isn't wrong. Maybe there's nothing, maybe I'm off my rocker, but this is starting to teeter on being a bit strange. The all-everything Steelers receiver attended Wednesday's Steelers practice but did not participate; he did however sign autograph and do the usual AB stuff (take selfies with his adoring fans, etc., etc.) after workouts on Wednesday. 

Then it gets strange. 

Brown hasn't practiced since and, late last week, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that Brown had been sent back to Pittsburgh for some injury evaluation. Tomlin bristled a bit when pressed about the injury, only saying it was "just a day to day, minor injury" and there was "nothing to speak of" in terms of the severity of it. The media took it at face value and moved on, as everyone understands Antonio Brown isn't the kind of player who needs much training camp prep to get ready for the season.  Tomlin's words were Tomlin's words and the anticipation was that AB would be back soon. 

OK, fair. I'm not insinuating AB is hurt deeper than anything minor and I'm the farthest thing from a conspiracy theorist that you will find. But, to me at least, Brown going underground since late last week is an escape from his normal nature. 

His last Instagram post was this afternoon. It was of some fan who has an AB face tatted on his toe (I can't make that up). Before that, the most previous one was from four days ago and featured Pirates pitcher Chris Archer --- newly acquired at that time --- in an Antonio Brown jersey. 

It was two days ago there was a retweet from Brown's account of a Nike Football post. That said, who knows if Brown actually handles his social media personally or (and this is the guess here) someone on "Team AB" pushes the buttons with Twitter, Instagram and the like. Nonetheless, for a guy who chartered a helicopter to St. Vincent at the beginning of camp and made sure cameras were at the ready when he landed, even a small absence from social media and the spotlight is something that is a bit odd. For some reason, his silence is noticeable. The lack of seeing AB on social media, as in pictures or videos of him, is noticeable. 

On top of that, it would seem --- injured or not --- this past Friday night was a made-for-AB kind of night at Greater Latrobe High School. That's where the Steelers held a nighttime practice and, generally, spend time in a very intimate setting with the fans.

That's prime AB time.

Selfies, smiles, a big-time training camp stage and a chance for Brown, who is one of the most savvy people in professional sports in terms of his image, to continue to grow that "smiles-all-the-time-and-works-so-hard" image that he has perfected. 

But on Friday night at Latrobe, there was no AB. Again, that seems odd to me. 

There's been no photos of his adorable and adoring children, who were so noticeable at camp earlier. There have been no AB workout or rehab videos on his social media. There has been no AB in his Rolls or Bentley or whatever. There's been no AB getting a haircut or message. No AB and his dinner plate. 

All of these have been staples of AB --- again, incredibly savvy with his brand growth --- over the past few years. 

I'm not saying anything is wrong with Antonio Brown. I'm not saying he's hurt deeper than we think or he's holed up somewhere dealing with some problem(s) we don't know about. What I am saying is that since late last week, it doesn't appear that he's carrying himself in line with how he normally does. 

I sure hope business is still boomin'.

I sure hope all is well.