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Mike Tomlin on Antonio Brown’s possible return: Y’all know that ain’t happening

Mike Florio and Chris Simms like Kenny Pickett's take-nothing-for-granted approach as he tries to establish himself as the Pittsburgh Steelers' franchise quarterback.

Antonio Brown said last month he wants to retire as a member of the Steelers. The Steelers might be open to that, but they’re sure not open to the receiver’s return on more than a one-day contract.

Brown remains a free agent and has said he’s not playing in 2022, likely because he has received no interest.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made clear that Brown’s career in Pittsburgh is over after nine seasons.

Y’all know that ain’t happening,” Tomlin said of Brown’s possible return while on The Pivot Podcast, via “In terms of putting a helmet on and running out of the tunnel and playing ball and stuff like that, man. You know he’s moved on, and we’ve moved on. We can sit around and chop that up like it’s a realistic conversation, but we know that’s not realistic.”

Brown showed Hall of Fame potential while with the Steelers, earning seven Pro Bowls and four All-Pros. He had 837 receptions for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns. But Brown was not able to duplicate that success with the Raiders, Patriots or Buccaneers, and his time at each of his four stops, including Pittsburgh, ended poorly (and memorably).

“What I’ll say about AB is this man, we had nine great years,” Tomlin said. “I appreciate that dude in ways I can’t explain to y’all. I won’t even bother to attempt to explain to y’all because it sounds like I’m defending him in some way, and to me from that standpoint, the nature of our relationship and what we all did together requires no defense. You could digest it however you want to digest it. [Tomlin blows a kiss.] I don’t think enough gets said about the will of that dude. About the work ethic of that dude. About the fearlessness that he played the game.”

Brown played 12 seasons, but he saw action in only 16 games total his final three seasons.