New report casts doubt on reason for Antonio Brown's absence from Steelers' must-win season finale

  • Antonio Brown did not miss Sunday’s crucial must-win game because of a knee problem, according to a new report.
  • Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report that Brown was involved in a dispute with a teammate and then refused to practice or take part in team activities in the days leading up to the game.
  • Brown reportedly showed up to the game expecting to play but later left at halftime.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers won the game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but still missed the playoffs when the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Cleveland Browns.

Antonio Brown did not play in Week 17 with the Pittsburgh Steelers season on the line, and a new report is now casting doubt on why he was not in the game.

According to several sources for Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Brown was not injured as previously reported. Instead, Brown missed the game after he refused to practice or attend team meetings following a dispute with a teammate.

“The disagreement occurred Wednesday morning during a routine walk-through practice that precedes their regular afternoon practice on the South Side,” Dulac and Bouchette wrote. “Brown became disgusted and threw a football in anger at one of his teammates, several sources said.”

The Steelers faced the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17, needing a win for any hope at a playoff berth. Brown did not practice all week, and the team eventually listed him as “questionable” for the game, citing a knee injury.

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On Friday, head coach Mike Tomlin told the media that Brown did not practice because he “didn’t feel comfortable enough” and would have the knee tested. However, according to Dulac and Bouchette’s sources, the knee was not a problem and was never tested.

After a report that Brown would “test” his knee during warmups before the game, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Brown was feeling “better” and hoped to play.

“Antonio Brown feels better this morning, giving the Steelers hope he will play today,” Schefter wrote. “They didn’t sound as confident Saturday.”

According to the report, Brown showed up to Heinz Field on Sunday expecting to play, despite not attending Saturday’s walk-through practice or the team meeting on Saturday night. Brown is said to have left the stadium at halftime.

The Steelers won the game but were eliminated from the playoffs when the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Cleveland Browns.

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