The Antonio Brown ‘recruiting’ moves by 49ers players are mostly just for show. Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday that the team wouldn’t cut Brown, but they would explore other options of moving the wide receiver out of the Steel City.
49ers tight end George Kittle was the first 49er to reach out to Brown on social media on New Year’s Eve after reports surfaced of dissension between Brown and the Steelers. Multiple 49ers followed suit, including cornerback Richard Sherman.
Veteran offensive tackle and one of the team’s foremost leaders got in on the social media action Thursday in response to a post by Brown that showed him shaking hands with Rooney and the caption “Good Business #Boomin.”
Staley’s waving emoji can be interpreted several ways, but it’s hard to imagine this is anything other than an attempt to woo the four-time All-Pro.
Unfortunately for the 49ers players, their social media outreach won’t do much good in light of Rooney’s comments that Brown won’t be released. All the recruiting in the world doesn’t matter if the Steelers trade him elsewhere.
On the other hand, all these social media posts between the 49ers and Brown matter at least a little bit. Potentially the biggest hangup in the 49ers’ pursuit of the 30-year-old is his locker room fit. He didn’t exactly contribute to a harmonious Steelers locker room, and their desire to depart with him after he led the NFL in receiving touchdowns points directly to off-field issues the team has with him.
The 49ers have developed a strong locker room culture though, and the players will likely be consulted on some level if the front office decides to pursue a trade for the seven-time Pro Bowler. All these social media posts would seem to indicate the 49ers, including Staley – the team’s longest-tenured player, are more than happy to have Brown suiting up in red and gold.