The reason Antonio Brown didn’t play in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ de facto elimination game on Sunday wasn’t because of knee soreness but rather the result of a tumultuous week during which Brown argued with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and didn’t take part in the Saturday walkthrough.
This is according to a report by NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala on Monday, which cites multiple sources.
What’s more, according to Kinkhabwala, Brown left Heinz Field at halftime rather than stick around to watch his team edge the Cincinnati Bengals 16-13 to keep its playoff hopes alive for a time. The Steelers nonetheless missed out on the playoffs when the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns shortly afterward and the Indianapolis Colts beat the Tennessee Titans in the Sunday night game.
The report added that head coach Mike Tomlin will address the issue with the media Wednesday.
—Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is expected to be ready for the NFC wild-card game at Chicago on Sunday, coach Doug Pederson confirmed.
Foles left the Eagles’ Week 17 win against the Washington Redskins with a chest and rib injury, but Pederson confirmed that the team expects him to be on the field this weekend as Philadelphia resumes defense of its Super Bowl title.
Foles, who tied an NFL record with 25 consecutive completions Sunday, fell four snaps shy of a $1 million bonus for playing at least 33 percent of the snaps this season, according to NFL Network.
—The Jacksonville Jaguars intend to void the remaining guarantees that running back Leonard Fournette signed in his rookie contract, potentially saving the team $7.1 million and allowing them to move on from the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, head coach Doug Marrone confirmed.
The Jaguars had the right to take that step after the NFL suspended Fournette for one game following a fight in Buffalo in late November.
Fournette can challenge the ruling, but if it is upheld, the Jaguars can cut him and owe him no more money. The 23-year-old former first-round selection with a cap-friendly contract could also draw trade interest.
—Tennessee Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo announced his retirement after 10 NFL seasons.
Orakpo missed the final three games of the 2018 season with an elbow injury. He had 28 tackles and 1.5 sacks in his final season. The 32-year-old had 66 sacks and 12 forced fumbles in 132 career games with the Titans and Redskins, all starts.
—Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, who suffered a torn ACL in May, appears ready to start his team’s playoff game this weekend against Baltimore.
Henry started 13 games last season and emerged as the No. 1 tight end before he was hurt during offseason workouts. The Chargers re-signed Antonio Gates following Henry’s injury.
—NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock is set to become general manager of the Oakland Raiders, after shadowing coach Jon Gruden for parts of last offseason.
“He loves it. He’s a passionate, passionate personnel man,” Gruden said Sunday, per ESPN. “He’s done it for a long time. I know he’s had opportunities to get back into the NFL as a general manager and we’ll see what happens.”
—Baltimore Ravens safety Eric Weddle earned a $1 million bonus for making the Pro Bowl and playoffs in the same season and says he will “do something nice for all my teammates and my coaches because I’m nothing without my team.”
Weddle didn’t detail what he’ll do, but did offer, “I’ve got something brewing, but I am not going to tell. You’ll find out when I make it happen.”
—The New Orleans Saints signed tight end Josh Hill to a three-year, $8.85 million extension, according to ESPN.
Hill, 28, has spent the past six seasons with the Saints and is valued for his blocking and special teams’ contributions in addition to his receiving skills. Hill matched his career high with 16 receptions and gained a career-best 185 yards this season with a touchdown.
—Just a week after undergoing heart transplant surgery, former NFL player and executive Matt Millen said he is feeling better and figuring out his second act.
Millen, 60, waited three months for a match in Newark Beth Israel Hospital. He had been suffering from a rare disease, called amyloidosis, that attacks the lining of the heart. He said his new heart came from a 26-year-old man who died from a drug overdose.
—The Buffalo Bills have signed veteran quarterback Derek Anderson to a one-year contract. The 35-year-old signed with the club in October when rookie quarterback Josh Allen was injured and backup Nathan Peterman was struggling. He started games against the Indianapolis Colts and New England, both losses, and didn’t play again in 2018 after suffering a concussion against the Patriots.
—Field Level Media