Mike Tomlin Says Antonio Brown Returning to Steelers 'Ain't Happening'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 22, 2022

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 16: Head Coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
David Eulitt/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin rejected the notion that free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown could make a return to play for the Black and Gold during an appearance on The Pivot Podcast.

"Y'all know that ain't happening. In terms of putting a helmet on and running out of the tunnel and playing ball and stuff like that, man," Tomlin said (h/t Madison Williams of Sports Illustrated).

"You know he's moved on and we've moved on. We can sit around and chop that up like it's a realistic conversation, but we know that's not realistic."

The feeling may be mutual regarding not playing for Pittsburgh.

Brown said on a Fan Controlled Football broadcast that he isn't playing in 2022. He also hinted that his career could be over.

Fan Controlled Football @fcflio

.<a href="https://twitter.com/AB84?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AB84</a> interview with <a href="https://twitter.com/CharlyOnTV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CharlyOnTV</a> <br><br>Discusses his music career, playing football next season, and all things FCF<a href="https://twitter.com/fuboSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@fuboSports</a> <a href="https://t.co/d3pigdoLO2">pic.twitter.com/d3pigdoLO2</a>

"Obviously we live the game, but you can't play forever," Brown told Charly Arnolt (h/t Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports). "I think I'm a great player that's done everything in the game."

Brown has said that he wants to retire as a Steeler, but it sounds like it would be a formality before a retirement.

AB @AB84

Just wanna Retire A Steeler

AB @AB84

Not Play Jus Retire so we Clear

Even though the door doesn't appear to be open for Brown to return to the Steelers, Tomlin made it clear that he's appreciative of all Brown did in Pittsburgh:

"What I'll say about AB is this, man: We had nine great years. I appreciate that dude in ways I can't explain to y'all. I won't even bother to attempt to explain to y'all because it sounds like I'm defending him in some way. And to me from that standpoint, the nature of our relationship and what we all did together requires no defense. You could digest it however you want to digest it. [Tomlin blows a kiss.] I don't think enough gets said about the will of that dude. About the work ethic of that dude. About the fearlessness that he played the game."

Brown played for the Steelers from 2010 to 2018. He made seven Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams and made the Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-2010s squad. In addition, Brown led the NFL in receiving yards and catches twice apiece.