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Report: Antonio Brown not granted permission from Steelers to facilitate a trade, door not closed on returning

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Antonio Brown watch takes a strange turn.

Remember that part where I called Antonio Brown watch the golden age of drama? I wasn’t kidding, because now Ian Rapoport reports Brown and his agent still have not received permission to facilitate a trade. Rapoport also added that while the Steelers are exploring trade options, there is still dialogue between Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers and the door isn’t shut on him returning.

So the next question is: would all of this be for nothing?

Since the NFL season ended, the hot topic has been about how Brown and the Steelers—or Ben Roethlisberger depending on if you want to go that route—can’t play nice. The Steelers have been rumored to want a first round pick for Brown and there hasn’t been a peep about a suitor being interested in giving up that real estate for what will be a 31-year old wide receiver.

Brown has been plenty busy. He talked with Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens, followed the 49ers on Instagram, and tweeted the most cryptic of tweets suggesting he’s done with Pittsburgh. The Steelers also didn’t expect him back, but this is rather strange that they are not allowing a trade to be executed, or at least for Brown’s agent to poke around. They wanted a first round pick and no one bit, at least not yet and what we know about. Are the Steelers that stubborn to hold onto Brown and not allow him to seek out a trade because they can’t get their first round pick? Brown has made it clear he doesn’t want to be there, at least publicly. If everything is flipped back and Brown returns next year how long does he stay happy?

More of this should come out when teams meet at the NFL Combine. Interested teams will probably run into Steelers executives to kick the tires on a possible deal. The fact no one has emerged as a trade candidate is strange, but it will be more concerning if no names were revealed after the Combine. The Steelers seem like they want to do this their way at the moment and don’t care about where Brown would want to go. That very well could change as time goes on.

We’re at a point here where we have to wonder how serious Brown and/or the Steelers are. I don’t see him returning to Pittsburgh after everything that has happened in the last month, but if he were to, I wouldn’t know who made that locker room more dysfunctional: the Steelers or Brown.