It appears Antonio Brown will not be heading to Buffalo, after all.
Hours after NFL Network reported that a Brown trade between Pittsburgh and Buffalo was “close,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday morning that the deal was off the table.
“We inquired about Antonio Brown on Tuesday, and kept talks open with the Steelers,” Beane told ESPN. “We had positive discussions, but ultimately it didn’t make sense for either side. As great a player as Antonio Brown is, we have moved on and our focus is on free agency.”
Beane’s on-the-record comments put an end to back-and-forth reports from NFL Network and ESPN, each repeatedly citing anonymous sources over a span of eight hours.
NFL Network reported shortly before midnight that the Steelers were closing in on a deal to send Brown to Pittsburgh, then doubled down on that report Friday morning, with reporter Ian Rapoport claiming the talks had been “aggressive” and the two sides were “close on compensation.”
ESPN, meanwhile, reported around 3 a.m. Friday that while the Bills and Steelers had, in fact, talked about a potential Brown trade earlier in the week, it was “an old story.”
“It was dead on Wednesday,” a source told ESPN.
A trade for Brown is nonetheless still expected to happen soon. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said at the NFL scouting combine last week that “interest has grown” in the seven-time Pro Bowler.
TWITTER REACTION: Fans react to report of trade
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Brown had a tumultuous 2018 season with the Steelers. He missed several practices and meetings before a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers declared him inactive for that game, which was a must-win for Pittsburgh in its playoff hopes. The Steelers won, 16-13, but missed the playoffs.
Contributing: Tom Schad, USA TODAY Sports
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.
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