Raiders and 49ers fans who’ve spent the offseason pining for Antonio Brown had to be disappointed by a Thursday night report that the wide receiver appeared Buffalo-bound.
That was news to Brown and to Buffalo, though.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane explained Friday morning in a team-issued statement that a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers ultimately couldn’t be worked out.
A statement from GM Brandon Beane. pic.twitter.com/GK8wMqFTCA— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) March 8, 2019
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, who initially reported the Bills were “closing in” on a deal for Brown, explained what happened, and it’s simple. Brown made it clear he wasn’t coming to Buffalo.
From @gmfb: The #Bills neared a trade last night for WR Antonio Brown, who would not commit to showing up in Buffalo. The organization did speak with agent Drew Rosenhaus. This morning, Buffalo says they are out, amid uncertainty. Steelers are square one again. pic.twitter.com/d4suLfaVWP— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2019
It was quite a whirlwind for Bills fans after that initial report. First, Brown himself called it “fake news” on Instagram.
Then Vic Carucci, longtime NFL journalist and Buffalo News reporter, swooped in with these details.
So, 49ers and Raiders fans, we’re saying there’s a chance ...
Nothing about Brown’s seemingly imminent divorce from the Steelers has been easy or without drama. So, why start now?
Veteran reporters noted ESPN newshound Adam Schefter’s silence on the matter as reason to doubt the trade was happening. He had answers a few hours later, and his report echoed Carucci’s.
Buffalo has spoken to Pittsburgh about a potential trade for WR Antonio Brown, as have a handful of other teams. Those talks occurred only in recent days. A source this morning called a Brown-to-Buffalo trade “unlikely.” Not out of the question but, at this time, “unlikely.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2019
Another source on a potential Antonio Brown-to-Buffalo trade said it will not happen. “I don't think the Bills trade was ever close to happening,” said one source involved in those talks. Steelers snd Bills briefly talked but “this is an old story. It was dead on Wednesday.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2019
The Associated Press and Pro Football Talk piled on, for good measure.
Source: Deal for Antonio Brown to Bills "not even close" https://t.co/uZU8OJ4eDp— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 8, 2019
So, Brown remains on the trade market. Are John Lynch and Jon Gruden calling?