It's safe to say the Pittsburgh Steelers harbor some regret over re-signing Antonio Brown to a five-year, $73 million contract in February 2017. At the time, however, general manager Kevin Colbert was apparently so enamored with the six-time Pro Bowler that he was using Brown's status as one of the league's best players to criticize the contractual demands of other incumbents.
Emmanuel Sanders, now with the Denver Broncos, claims Colbert invoked Brown when the veteran wide receiver sought a new contract from Pittsburgh in 2014 that the general manager deemed a player of Sanders' caliber wasn't worth.
“The Steelers offered me a crappy deal. They offered me three years, $9 million, $1 million guaranteed,” he said during a Thursday appearance 104.3 The Fan, per Pro Football Talk. “I’ll never forget when they offered me the deal, I declined the deal, I went into Kevin Colbert’s office and said, ‘I don’t want to take the deal.’ He looks at me and he goes, ‘Who do you think you are, Antonio Brown?’ I wanted to say, ‘F-you.’ I’ll never forget that.”
Sanders went on to sign to a three-year, $15 million deal with the Broncos.
In response to Sanders' retelling, The Athletic's Mark Kaboly felt compelled to voice his opinion that Colbert, who's been under scrutiny recently for the offseason departures of Brown and Le'Veon Bell and some incendiary comments he made defending Ben Roethlisberger, is a “great human being.” Sports radio jock Mark Madden went a step further, retweeting Kaboly and accusing Sanders of lying, call him a “scumbag.”
— Mark Madden (@MarkMaddenX) March 22, 2019
Sanders, understandably, was none too pleased.
Who are you calling a scumbag you dirty piece of shit? You know nothing. I just pictured you with bread crumbs all over your shirt while you were typing to call me a scumbag. Watch your mouth. If you think I’m lying then that’s your opinion but the disrespect I’m not dealing with https://t.co/Kk4ppnuqxo
— Emmanuel Sanders (@ESanders_10) March 22, 2019
It's already been quite a hectic offseason for the Steelers. Here's hoping the team, its fans, and the media that covers it manages to avoid sparking more controversy leading up to the 2019 season.