Bruce Gradkowski knows all about the drama. As a former teammate of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, he witnessed his late arrivals to meetings and walk-through practices.
However, Gradkowski also knows that Brown pours a tremendous amount of hard work into being one of the top receivers in the NFL. In addition, the ex-quarterback understands what would likely be the best way for the Steelers to address Brown’s off-field behavior, which reached a boiling point when, after a week of skipping meetings and practices, he was kept out of Sunday’s season-ending loss against the Cincinnati Bengals.
‘If you trade him, you’re kind of letting into all of the drama’
The solution, as far as Gradkowski is concerned, is not necessarily trading Brown as many have suggested and Gradkowski initially thought made sense. No. It’s sitting him down.
“The way I look at it, too if you trade him, you’re kind of letting into to all the drama he’s caused,” Gradkowski told Bruce Murray on the SiriusXM Blitz. “The only thing that affects AB, it’s not money. It’s his production on the field, it’s being on the field. And you have to eliminate that by suspending him for a game, a half, two games, whatever that may be.
‘You can fine him all the money you want, and that’s not going to affect him’
“Take away the most important thing to him, and that’s being on the field. You can fine him all the money you want, and that’s not going to affect him. It has to be the play on the field.”
The bottom line is that Brown is far too talented and productive for the Steelers to allow him to play elsewhere.
‘I think he’s a fantastic player (with) the work he puts on the field’
“Look, he’s a prima donna top receiver,” Gradkowski said. “He’s one of the best in the NFL, he works his tail off, works harder than anyone I’ve been around and I do love the guy. I think he’s a fantastic player (with) the work he puts on the field. … (Coach Mike) Tomlin always talked about in the in the team room, which is the truth: ‘Look, everyone can’t be treated the same in the NFL.’ It’s just not possible.
“Antonio Brown continues to put stats together, year after year, of unbelievable seasons as a top receiver so you kind of live with some of that drama and you kind of (say), ‘OK, what what do I really want to nitpick? What’s going to affect us on the field and what can I let kind of slide under the rug because this guy, what he brings us on the field, is amazing and the best in the league.’ I just think Tomlin will let the dust kind of settle and handle it at his own time.”
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