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KRYK NOTES: Steelers prez says ‘all options on table’ with Brown

Those Antonio Brown trade rumblings? Believe ’em.

Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II on Thursday told Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the club won’t release the club’s serially sulking wide receiver, but “all other options are on the table.”

Including trading him, once trades can be consummated on the first day of the new league year, March 13.

In an act of supreme petty selfishness, Brown abandoned the Steelers in the days leading up their season finale in the last week of December, for some minor perceived injury to his ego at practice on the Wednesday. He showed up on game-day morning but head coach Mike Tomlin told him he wouldn’t be dressing, let alone playing. Brown bolted Heinz Field at halftime.

“There’s not much we can do right now; we have time to make a decision,” Rooney said, in his first public statements since one of the most embarrassing incidents in Steelers history.

“We’ll look at all the options. We’re not going to release him, that’s not on the table. But I will say all other options are on the table.

“Whether the situation can be reconciled and have him back on the team next year, we’re a long way away from thinking that can happen. We’re not closing the door on anything at this point.”

Dulac reported that Brown, 30, is due a $2.5-million roster bonus on March 17.

Presumably, then, if the Steelers decide to trade him they’d do so between March 13-16. In that event the club would still take a massive $21.1-million cap hit in 2019, a savings of only $1.1 million. But Dulac reported the Steelers would save $15.1 million in cash, for not having to pay Brown his 2019 bonus and salary.

Taking such a cap hit for a departed player “has to be taken into consideration,” Rooney said, “but, as I sit here today, I’m not going to say that’s going to box us into anything. If we decide something has to be done, we’ll figure out how to deal with that.”

GURLEY INDEED A GO

Following their final practices Thursday before Saturday night’s NFC divisional playoff game, the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys released their final injury reports of the week.

The great news for the Rams is Todd Gurley (knee) practised fully on Thursday for the first time in a month and is expected to start. The only Rams player listed in the status report is DT Ethan Westbrooks (thigh), who’s questionable.

For the Cowboys, DE David Irving (ankle) is out. WR Cole Beasley (ankle), DT Maliek Collins (illness, ankle), TE Blake Jarwin (ankle), OG Xavier Su’a-Filo (ankle) and S Darian Thompson (groin) are all listed as questionable. QB Dak Prescott practised fully all week and is expected to start.

KYLER COMING OUT?

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray appears to have changed his mind, and now wants to pursue a career in pro football, rather than pro baseball.

College juniors or seniors with one more year of eligibility remaining have until Monday to turn pro for April’s NFL Draft.

Last June, the Oakland A’s of Major League Baseball drafted the phenom outfielder prospect ninth overall and paid him a signing bonus of $4.66 million.

The A’s allowed Murray to return to the University of Oklahoma so long as he left football behind and showed up at A’s spring training next month.

And in his first full season of starting with the Sooners — after backing up Baker Mayfield for two year — Murray put up stats comparable to those that allowed Mayfield to win the Heisman Trophy in 2017.

Whereas Mayfield completed 71% of his throws as a senior for 4,627 yards, 43 passing touchdowns and six interceptions and ran for 311 yards and five more scores, Murray completed 69% of his throws as a junior for 4,361 yards, 42 passing touchdowns and seven interceptions and ran for 1,001 yards and 12 more scores.

With those amazing stats, and a flare for the dramatic at crunch time himself, Murray too won the Heisman last month.

After some dazzling late-season performances, including in a semifinal playoff loss to Alabama, the 21-year-old from Bedford, Texas, reportedly began to seriously reconsider his pro-sports future. He and his agent had vowed they would honour the baseball commitment.

But if many NFL Draft experts prove correct in predicting Murray is a Top 10 prospect, he could actually wind up making more money in football than baseball.

If Murray chooses football, he’d have to pay back the A’s all of his signing bonus.

FANGIO’S FUNDAMENTALS

Denver on Thursday introduced its fifth head coach of this decade, Vic Fangio. The long-time NFL defensive co-ordinator answered all the expected questions for a team that coming off two consecutive losing seasons for the first time since the early 1970s.

On his plan at QB:“Right now, Case Keenum is our quarterback,” the 60-year-old Fangio said. “I know what he’s capable of and we’re going to try to get that out of him.”

On why he’s only now becoming an NFL head coach:“There’s a long answer to that, but basically I’ve always felt that I’ve never fit the match of the profile of what certain teams were looking for.”

On what type of head coach he’ll be:“We’re not going to cut any corners. I’m a fundamentals coach. I think the game of the NFL, everybody thinks has changed and it’s a high-scoring league, etc., but fundamentals is still what wins in this league. I’m going to stress those … there will be no death by inches.”

EXTRA POINTS

Speculation grew Thursday that Cincinnati hasn’t hired a head coach yet because his team is still in the playoffs. As the Bengals interviewed Kansas City offensive co-ordinator Eric Bieniemy, the belief is the Bengals will hire him once the Chiefs’ season concludes … Malcontent running back Leonard Fournette met with Jacksonville brass including football czar Tom Coughlin on Thursday, in an attempt to iron out differences. If he’s not traded by March 20, we’ll presume the ironing worked.

JoKryk@postmedia.com

@JohnKryk

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