Patriots

Patriots

The trade rumors are bubbling, and Antonio Brown is stirring the pot.

The star wide receiver reportedly isn't seeing eye-to-eye with the Pittsburgh Steelers; he missed the team's Week 17 game after a reported dispute with Ben Roethlisberger in practice earlier that week, and head coach Mike Tomlin described a "lack of communication" between Brown and the Steelers in a press conference Wednesday.

Brown's rift with Pittsburgh has led to speculation that he'll be traded -- which the Pro Bowler isn't exactly shutting down. Earlier this week, Brown posted a screenshot on his Instagram story of a direct message New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sent him in September, according to NFL reporter Dov Kleiman.

Brady and Brown both were drafted in the sixth round -- Brady at pick No. 199 in 2000, Brown at pick No. 195 in 2010 -- and went on to become superstars, so they do share that common bond.

But why would Brown post that September conversation now? Is this his way of hinting he wants to play with Brady on the Patriots?

 

We have no idea, but it's more likely the 30-year-old is just having some fun with the trade rumors. After all, he also started following the San Francisco 49ers on Instagram and tweeted at Niners tight end George Kittle, suggesting he's willing to be recruited to the Bay Area.

More social media "bread crumbs" could follow if Brown wants to drum up interest in his potential trade around the league. And while Tomlin insisted his star wideout hasn't directly asked for a trade, perhaps Brown's Instagram and Twitter activity is his way of getting a message across.

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