NFL Network Horribly Botches Attempt To Break Antonio Brown Trade News


At one point late on Thursday night, Antonio Brown was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter.

It wasn’t because of a crazy social media video, or new facial hair, or a teammate who was thrown under the bus. The wide receiver was trending because it was reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers had traded him to the Buffalo Bills.

It wasn’t just “Steve from Buffalo” or a random blog that reported the news — it was top insider Ian Rapoport of the league-owned NFL Network.

“The #Steelers are closing in on a deal to send star WR Antonio Brown to the Buffalo #Bills,” he tweeted. “There it is.”

Liz Cheney Considering Third-Party Presidential Run to Stop Trump: 'Whatever It Takes'

Rapoport followed that tweet with another that said, “Buffalo is on its way to getting AB,” and published an article saying Pittsburgh was closing in on a deal with Buffalo for Brown.

But things started to unravel when the NFL’s Instagram account created a “Breaking News” post on Brown going to Buffalo.

The person who would know more about the trade than anyone else — Brown himself — commented on the post with “Fake News.”

Fast forward to Friday morning and the Bills released a statement confirming that they had inquired about Brown three days earlier but had decided a deal “didn’t make sense.”

Rapoport tweeted that the Bills and Steelers “neared a trade” Thursday night but the receiver “would not commit to showing up in Buffalo.”

'Blind Side' Family Shows 'Menacing' Text Messages from Michael Oher as Court Battle Rages

“We went from last night to being close on trade compensation to a deal being nearly there, just wanted to clear that final huddle,” Rapoport said. “And then based on what the Bills heard late last night and again early this morning, they decided that it did not make sense for them to trade for Antonio Brown and they are moving on.”

Do you think Antonio Brown would have been a good fit in Buffalo?

Rapoport said the uncertainty of Brown showing up “wasn’t worth the drama” for the Bills to go through with the deal.

However, at roughly the same time all of this was playing out via the NFL Network, ESPN’s Adam Schefter called a Brown trade to the Bills “unlikely.”

Schefter also said one of his sources told him that Brown to the Bills was an “old story” that was settled the day before.

So we are back to where we were over 48 hours ago and Antonio Brown is still a Steeler.

He still wants to be moved and still wants a new contract, but neither of those seems likely to happen before the start of free agent negotiation Monday.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , ,
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
Houston, Texas
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise