BENZ: Everyone is full of it in ESPN story about Steelers' trade of Antonio Brown

(Greensburg) Tribune-Review (TNS)
Antonio Brown

ESPN posted a long “behind-the-scenes” account of the trade that sent Steelers receiver Antonio Brown to Oakland last month.

In terms of new information — especially if you heard the taped conversation between Brown and his agent Drew Rosenhaus — there’s not a ton of new information there. From an Oakland point of view, there are a few fun anecdotes. But from a Pittsburgh perspective, most of the piece contains details Steelers fans already have heard.

And have tried to forget.

What stands out to me, though, is that almost everyone quoted in the story is so full of crap I can’t believe they expect us to buy their baloney.

Mike Mayock: Here’s what the Raiders general manager had to say about the personality questions surrounding Brown.

”I did do a pretty deep dive with some of the Pittsburgh people I know,” Mayock said. “But the point is, for the majority of his career, could you criticize him for wanting the football more? Sure. But tell me a great wide receiver that doesn’t want the ball, right? So, he’s got some of that in him. But at the end of the day, he was a positive force in that building for a lot of years. Whatever happened last year, happened.”

If that’s all Mayock took away from his “deep dive” of Brown’s character, he didn’t do the right kind of homework.

Or, likely closer to the truth, he doesn’t have any answers to explain away Brown’s behavior beyond his demands for the ball.

You know, things like bailing on practices and meetings, the “Mr. Big Chest” video rant, the blonde mustache, the 100-mph trip down McKnight Road, the allegations of throwing furniture off a balcony and the domestic violence investigation.

If I’m a Raiders fan, those are the red flags I’m hoping Mayock investigated. Not just the typical “give me the ball” stuff you can expect from most diva receivers.

Drew Rosenhaus: Rosenhaus was quoted as, essentially, painting Brown as some sort of contractual pioneer.

“In this particular instance, you had a player who said, ‘This isn’t an ideal situation for me.’ For guys around the league, this is a positive development for players. And they have Antonio Brown to thank for it.”

I guess I can’t call that quote full of B.S. It’s true.

But the fact Rosenhaus is praising a player for intentionally sabotaging a valid contract with three years remaining — and suggesting that this is a good thing — is abysmal. And don’t give me the “Well, players can get cut one year into a multi-year contract” song and dance.

They get their guaranteed money. Whatever it may be. Their union signed the collective bargaining agreement. That’s an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Rosenhaus also added, “(Brown) wants to maintain a relationship with the Steelers as one of the best to ever put on the uniform.”

Now that is pure horse pucky.

Why then did Brown do an online hatchet job of JuJu Smith-Schuster back on April 7?

Mike Tomlin: The Steelers coach is quoted in the story talking about Brown’s departure and that of running back Le’Veon Bell.

”Change is a part of our business, and we’re comfortable with the talent we have and our plan to add to that talent and develop that talent.”

If Tomlin is comfortable with Jaylen Samuels as the top backup to James Conner at running back and comfortable with either James Washington or Donte Moncrief replacing Brown in the starting lineup, then I’m not comfortable with him analyzing his own roster.

And if he expects to fill those holes high in the draft, then I’m definitely not comfortable with whatever defense goes to Latrobe for training camp.

Kevin Colbert: Here’s what Colbert said about the third-round and fifth-round picks acquired from Oakland in exchange for Brown.

He is putting lipstick on a pig.

”We were excited to get a third and a fifth, especially as high as those picks are in those respective rounds. As I stated, now we have four picks in the top 83, and 10 picks in the top 219, so we are picking once out of every 21 picks, so we are in much better shape draft-wise than we were prior to that trade. … We found something that we were excited about and we made the deal without hesitation.”

Simply put, that can’t be true. There is no way that Colbert can be “excited” about getting two mid-round picks for a talent like A.B., whether he was forcing his way out of town or not.

Especially when Rosenhaus killed a deal with Buffalo that would’ve likely allowed the Steelers to get the ninth pick in this year’s draft.

And getting 10 picks in one draft? Pfft! They’ll never keep, or maybe even use, 10 draft picks in one year.

But aside from that, sure. Everyone in the story is wholly transparent and should totally be believed about everything they say.