In an exclusive interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Steelers president Art Rooney II said Thursday the team would not release Brown.
The Steelers found themselves in this situation - where their best skill-position player has demanded a trade - after Brown skipped out on practice before the team's do-or-die season finale against the Bengals and didn't play in the game.
As to if Brown will be with the team come training camp, Rooney said: "As we sit here today, it's hard to envision that". He also said the team is not closing the door on the possibility of smoothing things over with Brown, but he is not optimistic that will happen.
The Antonio Brown story isn't going away anytime soon unless the Steelers decide to pull the trigger on a trade before a $2.5 million roster bonus kicks in five days after the start of the new league year in March.
Brown has not returned phone calls from the team - including Rooney, head coach Mike Tomlin and others who have reached out. Brown enters the third year of a five-year, $72.7-million extension signed before the 2017 season.
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Brown responded not so quietly with a picture of himself and Rooney with the caption, "Good Business #Boomin".
But there might be just as many teams that are leery about taking on a high salary, even for a player as talented as Brown is, given that he essentially quit on his teammates prior to a crucial game.
Rooney says cap considerations will play a factor in how the Steelers move forward.
Pittsburgh is reportedly expected to consider trade offers for Brown ahead of the free-agency period.