Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown will not play this weekend, in the last game of the regular season.
“[Coach] Mike Tomlin, as usual, refused to put a timeline on when Brown might return to the lineup,” reported Jeff Hartman of Behind the Steel Curtain. “Brown missed the Week 16 game vs. the [Houston] Texans, and at his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Tomlin ruled Brown out for the Week 17 game against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.”
This is expected. When Brown hurt his left leg, he was instantly counted out for the Texans game.
“Steelers WR Antonio Brown has a partially torn calf muscle, per source,” wrote ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “Unlikely to play next week but expected back for the postseason.”
Even that report did leave the door slightly open for a Week 17 return, but it looks like it won’t happen.
And it shouldn’t. The Steelers may have barely lost to the New England Patriots after Brown went down, but even that was controversial. They beat the Texans with ease. The game against the Browns should, on paper, be even easier. The Browns have yet to win a game this year and the Steelers can send them to 0-16 on the season. They’ll be the second team in NFL history to hit that mark, equaling the Detroit Lions.
The Steelers have plenty of firepower with wideouts Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster. There’s no reason at all to risk Brown before the playoffs, when they’ll absolutely need the NFL’s best receiver.