The new season of the hit soap opera Days of Our Steelers has gotten off to a dramatic start. There has been plenty of build-up to the premier episode, and fans just can’t get enough of the gripping and emotional storylines. The star of the new season is diva wide receiver Antonio Brown, who seems to be pushing his way out of town, leaving dysfunction and destruction in his wake.
Co-stars Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger reprise their major roles, with guest appearances from former team members Ryan Clark and James Harrison. Things are heating up in the Steel City, and the best is yet to come.
One interesting wrinkle that the producers have thrown into this season is that the show’s cast is now self-aware. Tight end Jesse James admits that the team is very similar to the Kardashians. James is absolutely right; the drama never ends with the Steelers, and every day brings a new dilemma.
As the superstar of the team, Brown loves attention, and what better way to draw it than with an obscenely large (and expensive) diamond ring proudly displaying Brown’s infatuation with himself? Although, to Brown’s credit, he doesn’t exactly need a flashy ring to draw attention. He’s pretty much the most popular guy around right now. Plenty of players from teams that aren’t his are recruiting him, including the Jets’ Jamal Adams and the Browns’ Jarvis Landry. Brown has also been flirting with other teams.
He randomly shared an Instagram direct message between himself and Patriots QB Tom Brady from early September. On Twitter, he began following three 49ers players as well as Browns TE David Njoku. Brown unfollowed the Steelers on his social media pages. He also posted a picture of Jerry Rice and a goat, further adding to the confusion.
What sparked all of this controversy? The Steelers were preparing for a must-win game against the Cincinnati Bengals in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Thursday before the game, Brown missed practice with a phantom knee injury. Many of his teammates are not convinced that Brown was actually hurt. Whatever happened, Brown went AWOL until Sunday, where he had his agent contact Tomlin and let him know that Brown was ready to play. Tomlin would make Brown inactive for the divisional matchup.
The news of Brown’s injury led the team to schedule an MRI for him to undergo, only to find out that Brown had skipped his appointment. Brown and the Steelers clearly are not on the same page. The relationship has been rocky for a few years now, yet Brown’s disdain for the organization has never been this public.
Brown has friends and foes among former Steelers players. James Harrison teased a “special interview” with Brown after the two listened to Mike Tomlin’s press conference. In another post, Harrison insinuated that this cultural implosion is the result of Tomlin’s lack of accountability, something that Brown would be inclined to agree with.
On the flip side, Ryan Clark is taking the side of the rest of the team; he says that Brown has become too much of a distraction to warrant keeping around and paying, even if he is a fantastic player. This led to Brown calling Clark an “Uncle Tom” on social media. Brown wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player hurling insults; defensive end Cam Heyward called Brown’s behavior “unacceptable”, and it’s hard to disagree. Brown seems to have abandoned his team in favor of his self-obsession. However, that isn’t to say that Brown is the only member of the team causing trouble.
Running back Le’Veon Bell stuck to his word and held out for the entire season, despite his teammates’ pleas to return and help the team. Perhaps even moreso than Brown, Bell is likely to be on a new team next year, as his welcome appears to be have been completely worn out.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger refused to name Brown, clearly the team’s number one receiver, as the team’s number one receiver. This may have improved the QB’s relationship with other players, but it could not have helped with Brown’s.
One theory as to why the superstar WR missed the game against the Bengals is that he was being punished for throwing a football at an alleged sexual predator, which the show dramatically revealed to be Roethlisberger, a plot twist that no one saw coming (apologies for spoilers).
Brown also made a guest appearance on a crossover episode of The Masked Singer, masquerading as a hippo in glasses and a hat. The timing could not have been more perfect.
This season of Days of Our Steelers is gearing up to be the most entertaining yet, and it has only just begun. Plenty more is bound to happen from now until the 2019 NFL regular season kicks off, and with an off-season filled with trades, free agency, the draft, and most importantly, drama, the cast for the show’s next season could look very different. So sit back, and enjoy the ride.