Antonio Brown rents billboard space in Pittsburgh, thanks Steelers fans

Antonio Brown kicked and fought his way off the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then he thanked the area fans once his wish became official.

Moments after the trade of Brown to the Oakland Raiders became official on Wednesday, according to Pittsburgh CBS, there were electronic billboards all over the Pittsburgh area with one message.

“Thank You Pittsburgh,” they read, and they were sent from Brown. Or as he signed it on the billboards: “AB 84.”

The Steelers trading Brown to Oakland for third- and fifth-round picks became official and approved by the NFL at the official start of the league year. Both teams announced the trade, and the billboards went up.

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Antonio Brown introduced as a Raider for the first time
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Antonio Brown introduced as a Raider for the first time
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown holds his son Apollo prior to an NFL football news conference, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, center, holds his jersey beside coach Jon Gruden, left, and general manager Mike Mayock during an NFL football news conference Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown smiles during the NFL football team's news conference Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden, left, and wide receiver Antonio Brown listen to questions from the media during an NFL football news conference, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, center, holds his son Apollo beside coach Jon Gruden, left, after an NFL news conference Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, right, holds his jersey beside coach Jon Gruden during an NFL football news conference, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown smiles during an NFL football news conference, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Was the message in earnest?

The last few months of Brown’s relationship fizzling to the point of axing the franchise’s best offensive weapon — a little more than a year after the team made a major financial commitment to him — still feels raw and confusing. But no matter what Brown did to help escalate the tension between him and the team, it appears he’s trying his best to exit with a tad of dignity.

Brown’s beef always was with the club, not the fans. Prior to the last week of the regular season, he had been one of the more beloved players in recent Steelers memory. But things changed when Brown and the team had a clear disagreement over his missing a practice, along with a phony excuse of an injury that didn’t paint either side as all that responsible.

Both sides certainly can accept some fault. Maybe Brown’s methods for getting himself traded weren’t the most noble, but they sure were effective. Despite taking a major salary-cap hit and receiving little tantamount to his talent in return, the Steelers bit the bullet — and Brown got a raise out of it.

Whatever it takes, we suppose.

So Steelers fans might not love the message now as they’re driving by, still in shock over how this roster has been turned over so significantly the past few days, but they might one day remember all that Brown did for them too.

You know ... before things got quite ugly for a short time.

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Antonio Brown through his career
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Antonio Brown through his career
PITTSBURGH, PA - CIRCA 2010: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers poses for his 2010 NFL headshot circa 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 21: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates celebrates during the game against the Oakland Raiders on November 21, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15: Wide receiver Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball after a catch against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 18: Wide receiver Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the sideline during a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field on August 18, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Eagles 24-14. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 06: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates following a catch for a first down against the Baltimore Ravens during the game on November 6, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 10: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a catch in the end zone that was over turned as a touchdown in the first half against Corey Webster #23 of the New York Giants during the game on August 10, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 20: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers plays against the Baltimore Ravens during the game on October 20, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 28: Wide receiver Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers smiles as he looks on from the sideline during a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field on August 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Panthers defeated the Steelers 10-0. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 12: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 12, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 30: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers signs autographs before the game against the New Orleans Saints on November 30, 2014 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 25: Team Carter wide receiver Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the 2015 Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 25, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 31: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown attends the 2015 NFL Honors at Phoenix Convention Center on January 31, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers scores a 2-point conversion during the 2nd quarter of the game against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field on November 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 27, 2015: Wide receiver Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers smiles at fans prior to a game against the Baltimore Ravens on December 27, 2015 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore won 20-17. (Photo by: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 18: Wide receiver Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers smiles as he looks on from the sideline during a National Football League preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field on August 18, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Steelers 17-0. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 09: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up prior to playing the New York Jets at Heinz Field on October 9, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Antonio Brown (84) catches a pass during warmups before the NFL Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 13, 2016, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. The Cowboys defeated the Steelers with a final score of 35-30. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 11: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball after a catch against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at New Era Field on December 11, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after scoring his second touchdown during the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 10: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 01: Wide receiver Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on before a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 12: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) takes a selfie with a fan before the NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts on November 12, 2017, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 16: Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Antonio Brown (84) looks on during the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 16, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) looks on during the AFC Divisional Playoff game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 14, 2018 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 03: NFL player Antonio Brown attends the 2018 Big Game Weekend Hearing Mission With Starkey Hearing Technologies on February 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for Starkey Hearing Technologies)
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