The Pittsburgh Steelers might be ready to trade wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Buffalo Bills.
Or maybe not.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday night that the Steelers were closing in on a deal to send the disgruntled wideout to Buffalo.
However, Brown soon replied to that report on Instagram by writing, “fake news” with a flashing alarm emoji.
The Buffalo News’ Vic Carucci later tweeted that sources told him the Bills inquired about Brown but that no deal was imminent and that a trade between the clubs was unlikely.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that the Green Bay Packers also might have interest in acquiring Brown.
The Steelers announced earlier this week that they plan to deal Brown by Friday. Brown is expected to fetch a high pick, perhaps a first-round selection, for Pittsburgh in a trade.
Earlier Thursday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Oakland Raiders officials are not yet sold on giving up precious draft capital to acquire Brown.
The Raiders are looking at other avenues to address their depleted wide receiver corps, according to the newspaper.
With three picks in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Raiders might be willing to part with a second-round selection, per reports.
The Cleveland Browns and New York Jets also reportedly kicked the tires on a deal for Brown.
Brown has six consecutive 100-catch seasons but fell out of favor in Pittsburgh at the end of last season. He was inactive Week 17 following reports of a walkthrough confrontation with teammate Ben Roethlisberger. The quarterback denied any incident took place.
Brown told LeBron James on HBO’s “The Shop” that he felt disrespected by Roethlisberger following an interception in November against the Broncos.
“He feels like he’s the owner,” Brown said. “Bro, you threw the (expletive) to the D-lineman! What the (expletive)? I’m over here wide open! You need to give me a better ball!”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said at his season-ending press conference that the implication Brown quit on his team was not lost on him.
Brown met with team officials two weeks later and the sides agreed a trade would be the best solution for all involved. Pittsburgh is also parting with running back Le’Veon Bell, the twice-franchise-tagged former All-Pro who opted to sit out the 2018 season in a contract squabble.
—Field Level Media