Maurkice Pouncey on Antonio Brown, Steelers Rift: 'Time Heals Everything'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2019

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 28:  Maurkice Pouncey #53 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action  against the Cleveland Browns on October 28, 2018 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey believes the team can resolve its differences with star wide receiver Antonio Brown before the start of the 2019 season.

"Time heals everything," Pouncey said Wednesday, per ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler.

According to Fowler, Pouncey also disputed the report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette detailing how Brown threw a football at quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during practice in December.

The supposed argument between Brown and Roethlisberger occurred on Dec. 26, four days before Pittsburgh was set to play the Cincinnati Bengals. Brown left practice and didn't return to the team until Sunday's game, at which point the Steelers listed him as inactive with a knee injury.

Two days after Pittsburgh's 16-13 win, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reported Brown had requested a trade, though head coach Mike Tomlin subsequently denied Brown formally asked for a move out.

Steelers president Art Rooney II told Dulac in December it's "hard to envision" Brown staying with the team through to the start of training camp but left open the opportunity for the two sides to work everything out.

"Whether the situation can be reconciled and have him back on the team next year, we’re a long way away from thinking that can happen," Rooney said. "We're not closing the door on anything at this point."

The passage of time didn't exactly help bridge the gap between the Steelers and Le'Veon Bell, who sat out the entire 2018 season over a contract dispute.

Brown's situation isn't exactly a parallel, though. Whereas Bell was looking to get a long-term contract rather than play on a one-year franchise tender, Brown is signed through 2021. He'll earn $12.6 million in base salary and another $9.5 million on bonuses for 2019.

Not only does Brown's contract give him plenty of incentive to report to the team for next year, it also limits his trade market. Few teams will have both the resources necessary to acquire the four-time All-Pro and the salary cap space to take on his $22.1 million, $18.3 million and $19.5 million cap hits over the next three seasons.

As much as Brown and the Steelers might be at odds now, nobody should be surprised if everything works out by the summer. 

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