Not helping matters: Nobody from the Steelers has officially spoken with Brown since December 30, the day the Steelers' season ended without a playoff berth.
"There's not much we can do right now; we have time to make a decision", Rooney told the Post-Gazette.
Veteran offensive tackle and one of the team's foremost leaders got in on the social media action Thursday in response to a post by Brown that showed him shaking hands with Rooney and the caption "Good Business #Boomin". He hasn't picked up when Rooney and Mike Tomlin have called him. We're not going to release him, that's not on the table.
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Brown and the Steelers stirred up controversy in the final week of the regular season when it was reported that Brown had sat out Pittsburgh's must-win Week 17 matchup not because of injury but because he'd been benched. He also said the team is not closing the door on the possibility of smoothing things over with Brown, but he is not optimistic that will happen. The Steelers would absorb $21.12 million in 2019 dead money on the salary cap by trading Brown, but taking his $22.165 million cap charge off the books would offset that cost.
Brown has reportedly requested to be traded.
The Steelers now have two months to figure it all out. Once again, after dealing with the Le'Veon Bell contract situation for two years and finally moving on from him, the Steelers are embroiled in yet another conflict with a star skill-position player that might drag on. Brown registered 104 receptions with a league-leading 15 receiving touchdowns through 15 games in 2018, and he has reached the 1,000-yard receiving mark in seven of his nine NFL seasons.