INDIANAPOLIS – The 49ers have generally been regarded as the perfect fit landing spot for Antonio Brown, according to social media.
Jerry Rice has lobbied for Brown, the disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, to join the 49ers. Tight end George Kittle reached out to Brown via Twitter. And Brown has reciprocated, posting photos of himself in a photo-shopped 49ers jersey.
Meanwhile, the 49ers’ decision-makers have not taken any steps toward acquiring Brown, other than doing their due diligence on the seven-time Pro Bowl player.
General manager John Lynch said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine the 49ers have not reached out to the Steelers to inquire about the possibility of a trade.
“We have not,” Lynch said. “We have not.”
Brown, 30, has been at the center of one controversy and drama after another in recent seasons.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the number of interested teams has grown beyond the three teams he referenced last week.
So why are the 49ers apparently not interested at this point?
“I’ll just leave it as, he’s a great player; we got a ton of respect for Antonio,” Lynch said.
Up to this point, only wild speculation and activity on social media have connected the 49ers with Brown.
“It’s funny the world we live in, where one tweet from one player to another turns into interest and all of that,” Lynch said. “But, hey, that is the world we live in. I can tell you that, like every team in this league, we think the guy is a heck of a football player. But we have not talked with the Steelers, I can tell you that.”
Lynch takes it as a compliment to the organization that a player of Brown’s caliber appears to be so interested in joining the 49ers despite coming off 6-10 and 4-12 seasons under Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.
“I’m flattered every time, despite only winning 10 games in two years, that a lot of people seem to want to come and be a part of what we’re doing,” Lynch said. “I think we all know the reality that to keep that feeling, we better start winning some football games on a consistent basis. But I am flattered that there seems to be a want from NFL players to be a part of what we’re doing.”