PITTSBURGH — Antonio Brown will miss his second consecutive game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers receiver — who sparked trade conversation after missing the Steelers’ season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals — will be replaced by teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster in the Pro Bowl, according to the team, which cited Brown’s injury in a release.
Brown was listed with a knee injury on the Week 17 practice report but skipped the Saturday walkthrough, so coach Mike Tomlin benched him for the game.
Tomlin said at an end-of-year news conference that Brown left the team in its “darkest hour,” as the 9-6-1 Steelers needed a win to keep slim playoff hopes alive.
Brown “went off” in a team setting during the week, according to a source, and teammates were frustrated by his subsequent absence.
Brown led the NFL with 15 touchdown receptions, and he had 104 catches for 1,297 yards.
Teammates named Smith-Schuster the team’s Most Valuable Player after he caught 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns.
Smith-Schuster was considered a Pro Bowl snub after consistently ranking among the league’s best in yards. Last month, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Smith-Schuster “should’ve made it.”
Brown has not commented on the Week 17 flap, but agent Drew Rosenhaus recently spoke to WSVN-Miami about it.
“I’m just gonna say that Antonio is a great, great player. A tremendous competitor. A great teammate,” Rosenhaus said. “Whatever happens this offseason, we’ll make the best of it. I don’t have any particular comment on what the Steelers may or may not do. Antonio has had a Hall of Fame career there and we’ll be ready for whatever happens next.”