While the Super Bowl is the dominant story in the NFL right now, it's not the only thing in the football world generating attention. There's the missed call in the NFC title game, the coaching changes that have been made throughout the league, the Senior Bowl, and of course, the Antonio Brown saga.
Brown is angling for a trade out of Pittsburgh, as you presumably know by now, and according to a host of former teammates and coaches, this has been. "This has been brewing for years," one ex-teammate told ESPN.com. "It's just now coming to the surface. And it's probably over."
Well, maybe not. According to a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Steelers have not yet given Brown permission to arrange a trade to a team of his choice. Rather, the Steelers are the ones seeking trades on their own. Additionally, Rapoport says that Brown has not closed the door on returning to the Steelers in 2019.
Heading to ATL for @SuperBowl, the future of #Steelers WR Antonio Brown remains the dominant non-SB story. Where things stand: While a fresh start is now the preferred outcome, the team has not yet given Brown & his agent permission to facilitate a trade. It’s in the team’s hands— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 27, 2019
More on Antonio Brown: The #Steelers are exploring trade options, but Brown hasn’t closed the door on returning. He’s maintained a steady dialogue with some in the organization he’s close with to express that sentiment. Still, he should draw significant interest on the market.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 27, 2019
Parsing these reports, it's easy to read into them that the Steelers are perhaps trying to create a bit more of a market for Brown than currently exists. Getting the idea that they're controlling the situation (rather than letting Brown dictate his landing spot) out there could encourage more suitors to get in on the action. And floating the idea that Brown would be open to a return to Pittsburgh could motivate some of those suitors to up their offers.
It's of course possible that this is all on the level and Brown really is open to sticking around, but given the tenor of other recent reports (including from our own Jason La Canfora, who has been on top of this story from the jump), that somehow seems unlikely. Especially when you consider that Brown is on Twitter liking tweets that say "f--- Ben" and photoshop Brown into Packers jerseys and thank him for all he's done in Pittsburgh while wishing him well elsewhere. That seems like a guy who knows he's on his way out the door sooner rather than later.
If you still haven't marked your calendar for the Super Bowl, the game will be kicking off from Atlanta on Feb. 3 and will be televised by CBS and you can stream it right here. If you're thinking about buying a new TV for the big game, CNET has you covered. They shared their best picks for every budget.