'TIME TO MOVE ON': Star receiver Antonio Brown asks Steelers for trade

Joe Sargent  Getty Images

"Thank you SteelerNation for a big 9 years", Brown wrote on Twitter.

All the emojis and tweets were one thing, but Brown's apparent interest in the 49ers seemed far more real when 49ers legend Jerry Rice joined the fray, telling 95.7 The Game, a radio station in San Francisco, that Brown wants to come to San Francisco "really bad".

Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro selection, has reportedly been unhappy in Pittsburgh and is looking to be traded.

Now that wide receiver Antonio Brown is officially ready to move on from the Pittsburgh Steelers; the bidding war has seemingly been kicked up a notch.

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Brown appeared to make his decision official in a social media post released on Instagram on Tuesday. Considering how they handled Le'Veon Bell's holdout, the Steelers are sure to hold off for as long as they can, unless someone offers them a juicy deal. The wide receiver is coming off of his sixth consecutive 1,000-plus yard season, and he had a career-high in touchdowns at 15. Brown signed the contract and should the front office choose, will remain bound to this team.

If traded before March 17, the Steelers would have a dead cap hit of $21.12 million.

Antonio Brown rumors continue to swirl around the National Football League as free agency approaches. The list of his transgressions in recent months includes a pending civil lawsuit in Florida claiming he hurled objects from the 14th floor of an apartment building that landed near a toddler; threatening an ESPN reporter through social media; and his 100 miles per hour sprint through the northern Pittsburgh suburbs on November 8. Brown would immediately fill the role of an "X" receiver on the outside, and would give Brady and Josh McDaniels the home-run threat they imagined Josh Gordon would be when they picked him up from the Browns in 2018.

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