The latest ex-Steeler to pile on the franchise is current Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Last week, Sanders told 104.3 “The Fan” in Denver about how he left the Steelers.
“The Steelers offered me a crappy deal,” Sanders told the radio station. “They offered me three years, $9 million, $1 million guaranteed.
“I went into Kevin Colbert’s office and said, ‘I don’t want to take the deal.’ He looks at me and he goes, ‘Who do you think you are, Antonio Brown?’ I wanted to say, ‘F-you.’ I’ll never forget that.”
Sanders ended up signing a three-year, $15 million deal with the Broncos. He is just the latest ex-Steeler to kick the team while it is down because it has suddenly become chic to do so.
Brown always talked about how great of a relationship he had with his “Wifi” partner Ben Roethlisberger. Then he wanted to force himself out of town to get a new contract, and suddenly Roethlisberger “had an owner’s mentality” and was a bad teammate because he never invited Brown to his house.
On the NFL Network, James Jones’ mouth moved. But it was Morgan Burnett’s words that could be heard complaining as he tried to leverage himself out after one useless season in Black and Gold.
Le’Veon Bell was away from the team for more than a year and never made a peep about any problems he had with Roethlisberger or Tomlin until Brown squawked. Then, after signing with the Jets, Bell parroted some of Brown’s complaints in his puff-piece Sports Illustrated interview.
Josh Harris had five years to make his intentional fumble accusation against Roethlisberger, and he never did. Once ripping the Steelers on the way out the door became the “in” thing to do, suddenly we heard about this significant accusation.
Sanders is no different. First of all, if that incident went down the way Sanders describes, I’m stunned we never heard such a graphic description of events before now. How come? Did Sanders need to see others act in this manner before he felt comfortable doing something similar? Sanders has always been a pretty outspoken guy. Never afraid of a microphone. Where was this juicy nugget over the last five seasons since he left Pittsburgh?
Secondly, Sanders needs to get over Brown the same way Brown needs to get over Sanders. To this day, Brown has a hang up that he was drafted three rounds after Sanders was in 2010. And Sanders has always seemed to have a bee in his bonnet about Brown getting more money.
Listen, fellas, you’re both excellent players. The NFL is plenty big for both of you.
And lastly, if Colbert genuinely did say what he did to Sanders — in the exact tone Sanders is describing — is Colbert wrong?
No. He isn’t.
Sanders has always been an exceptional pass-catcher. And he can, at least, boast about owning one Super Bowl ring. But Brown is a Hall of Famer.
Sanders is a Pro Bowler. Antonio Brown is an All-Pro.
The Steelers kept the right guy, even if it ended dreadfully. That’s reality, even if Sanders doesn’t want to admit it. And no after-the-fact piling on is going to change that.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.