As the drama between the Steelers and Antonio Brown, the all-world receiver and lightning rod for controversy, continues seemingly in a stalemate, there has been no reported communication between the beleaguered wideout and his team.
However, Brown has apparently talked to another former controversial receiver something Terrell Owens shared during an interview on Friday's edition of NFL Total Access. Owens said he believes Brown's days are done with the Pittsburgh Steelers and he might well be headed to Owens' old stomping grounds of San Francisco to be a 49er.
"I've talked to A.B. throughout the course of the year and over the season and he has called me and leaned on me for advice somewhat of a big brother, mentor and I think he has done what needed to be done," said Owens, a Hall of Famer who most notably played for the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys. "He has gone out and had his play do the talking for him, so I think with all of the things surrounding him there in Pittsburgh], I think it is best for him to part ways ... you have seen tweets and messages from management that they don't anticipate him being in training camp, and I think Antonio has made it clear where he stands with where he wants to be and this is not in a [Pittsburgh] [Steelers uniform."
"I think there is fault on each side, you know two sides to every story," Owens said. "I think if you saw how the Le'Veon Bell situation played out that has probably factored into doing why he is doing what he is doing. There are no guarantees and I think the best advantage going forward for Antonio is that he is playing at a very high level and is productive, so if they can work out something, because they are not just going to release him. ... I think that bodes well for both sides."
In the weeks that have passed since then, there have been reports that Brown could be traded and speculation has been abundant, including from Hall of Famer and Niners icon Jerry Rice. Rice said San Fran should seek out a trade for No. 84, and Owens said it's a very realistic option.
"Well I have talked to him in recent weeks especially after the season, and I didn't know, but the cat is out of the bag because Jerry Rice has mentioned him about being in a 49er uniform, but when I spoke to him I thought we were just discussing possible options but he kept asking me -- 'Yo, how is the Bay Area?'" Owens said. "And I'm like OK, it was nice when I played there and they have Jimmy [Garoppolo] there and you have a great QB to compliment you on the football field, but he kept asking me, 'Well what is the Bay Area like?' And, well, it is sunny and shining and they have a great quarterback; management is starting to turn around. They have a new stadium there, and he is a guy that is smart and savvy. He will be in Silicon Valley, and with A.B., business will be boomin.'"
Despite the off-the-field controversy, Brown was still boomin' when it came to production this past season. He tallied 104 catches for 1,297 yards and a league-high 15 touchdowns.
Thus, when Owens was asked whether Brown's addition could make an impact for the struggling San Francisco franchise, he was plenty confident that A.B. is very much still A.B. on the field.
"I mean come on, you are really asking me that? What kind of difference would he make?" Owens said. "I think we should be asking Jimmy Garoppolo this. I think if you look at his total body of work and how he played with JuJu [Smith-Schuster] and the emergence of him, JuJu, coming in and playing the way he did. He still put up big numbers considering."