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ESPN's New Report Reveals Why The Steelers Want To Trade Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown flexing his biceps.

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after making a catch in the second half against the New York Jets during the game on September 16, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Jets 27-10. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The end of the season wasn't kind to the Pittsburgh Steelers as the team sat on the field and watched the Baltimore Ravens squeak into the playoffs after defeating the Cleveland Browns to take the AFC North title. Things got much worse in the following days as reports of an unhappy Antonio Brown surfaced.

Head coach Mike Tomlin reportedly benched Brown in the team's final game for his behavior at practice in the week leading up to the team's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

In the weeks following the alleged altercation, rumors of an Antonio Brown trade have been building and a recent report from ESPN shows why.

According to ESPN's Steelers insider Jeremy Fowler, Mike Tomlin told the team once Brown's production drops, he's gone.

"[Tomlin] essentially told the group, we'll tolerate it now because of what he brings on the field, but the minute production stops, you don't overlook it," said one ex-Steeler who played with Brown for three seasons, recalling a story that multiple players confirmed.

While Brown's production hasn't dropped - 100-plus catches for over 1,200 yards and a league-high 15 touchdowns - Tomlin's patience reportedly has. That and owner Art Rooney II publicly stated the end of Antonio Brown's time in Pittsburgh is probably here.

Will the Steelers move Brown? According to Fowler's report, the trade interest in Brown is "small, but strong."