Drew Rosenhaus: Antonio Brown needed 'to start over'

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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In the aftermath of Antonio Brown being dealt from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders sometime around Saturday night slipping into Sunday morning, questions still abound.

As for how it all came to be, Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus offered a few nuggets as to how things played out on Sunday -- and prior to that -- on the NFL Network's Free Agent Frenzy.

"The trade talks have been ongoing for quite sometime now. Things really heated up with the Raiders about 48 hours ago," Rosenhaus said. "The Steelers gave the Raiders permission to speak with us. Apparently the Steelers and the Raiders reached an agreement on compensation, and as everyone knows, since Antonio was going to be traded, we were looking to adjust his contract."

In a deal that will not be official until Wednesday afternoon when the NFL's new calendar year kicks off, Brown will be traded in exchange for the Raiders' third- and fifth-round picks. The All-Pro pass-catcher will also have a new deal in place.

According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, it is for three years and $50.125 million with a max value of $54.125 million, with $30.125 guaranteed.

While telling the NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano that he and his client were looking to adjust their contract, he was then asked whether the trade would have come to fruition without reworking the contract.

"Rather than dealing with hypotheticals, let me just say it worked out great, it was a win-win because you're right, [Raiders coach] Jon Gruden was a big part of this, as was [Raiders quarterback] Derek Carr," Rosenhaus said. "Certainly, Antonio is a great receiver, one of the best of all-time, but it's hard to reach your potential if you don't have an offensive coach or quarterback that can help you execute. We're thankful that Antonio got a new contract.

"When you play for so many years with Ben Roethlisberger, I think it's important that you continue to have an outstanding quarterback play."

The downfall of Brown's relationship with Roethlisberger was at the forefront of the divide between the star receiver and the Pittsburgh franchise. And in Rosenhaus' opinion, it was an irreparable relationship, at that.

"Antonio had nine great years and that's probably longer than 99 percent of the guys in the league," Rosenhaus said. "It was a terrific love affair between Antonio and the Steelers. We worked on two contract extensions, he was a sixth-round pick, he had unprecedented success, but really at the end of the year things fell apart. Antonio really felt it would be in his best interests -- and we talked about it -- to get a fresh start. It's really all that it was. Good for him to have a new relationship with a new organization. Things got strained there; it would be better to start over. Those nine years were great but the ending was tough, and it was time to move on. We're thankful that the Steelers were able to get compensation for him and everybody wins here."

So Brown could no longer play for the Steelers?

Did the Bills also fall into that category? Buffalo was reportedly close to a deal to acquire the Pittsburgh's prodigal son late Thursday, but that fell through.

When asked what happened and whether Brown didn't want to go there, Rosenhaus did his best matador impression.

"I'm not sure. I think that's ... [Bills general manager] Brandon Beane came out with a very eloquent statement," Rosenhaus said. "He said they looked into it with the Steelers and they decided to not pursue the trade and we respect that. So the Bills decided it wasn't a great fit for them and it just didn't work out. We moved on and started talking to the Raiders and Antonio is very happy to be in Oakland."

When pressed as to whether Brown found Buffalo an undesirable destination, the agent said it wasn't up to A.B.

"You know what, I don't know that there was ever an option for us, quite frankly," Rosenhaus said. "We never got in that position. It really wasn't something that was up to us to decide. I don't think the Steelers and the Bills were able to work something out."

And so the A.B. saga heads west; it's departing Pittsburgh, avoiding Buffalo and venturing to the left coast for Oakland. At least for a season, then A.B. heads to Las Vegas.

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