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Joe Staley joins in on recruiting pitch for Antonio Brown

© Stan Szeto | 2018 Dec 9

The Antonio Brown saga continues.

Steelers owner Art Rooney told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Thursday that it’s “hard to envision” the seven-time Pro Bowler as part of the team when they report to camp in July. The statement is the first concrete, on-the record indication that the Steelers are looking to trade Brown this offseason.

Like clockwork, 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley continued the team’s efforts to recruit the WR, by tweeting a hand-waving emoji at Brown, in response to the receiver posting a picture of himself shaking hands with Rooney.

Some context: Brown reportedly requested a trade early last week after he sat out of the Steelers season finale, following a dispute with Ben Rothlisberger. 49ers tight end George Kittle was quick to reach out to Brown, tweeting “Sup?” at the seven-time Pro Bowler. Brown responded with a starry eyed emoji. Both Richard Sherman and Jimmy Garoppolo seemed to support Kittle’s recruiting effort.

On Wednesday Brown followed the 49ers on Instagram before posting the picture of Rice.

Though Brown, 30, wants out, it’s unclear what the price tag would be for the wideout who finished with 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns during the 2018 season. Brown’s current deal with the Steelers runs through 2021, with an average annual salary of $17 million.

The 49ers have been in the market for a true No. 1 wide receiver since John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan took over. The combination of Brown and Kittle would rival the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce for the most potent WR/TE combination in the NFL. Kittle’s 1,377 receiving yards in 2018 were the most gained in a single-season by a TE in NFL history.


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