Antonio Brown landed in New England shortly after being released by the Oakland Raiders, but it appears his preference was to wear a Patriots uniform long before that.

Brown requested a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of the 2018 season, which reportedly led Bill Belichick and the Patriots to immediately make a call regarding the All-Pro wide receiver. The Steelers, however, were not willing to deal him to their AFC foe, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.

“Belichick’s pursuit of Brown dated back to his falling out with the Steelers at the end of the 2018 season,” La Canfora wrote. “He was among the first executives to call about Brown’s availability when the Steelers made it clear the perennial Pro Bowler had no future there.”

Belichick “immediately” told the Steelers that their asking price of a first-round pick for Brown would not be a problem, but according to La Canfora, Pittsburgh then informed the Patriots coach that their front office was not willing to negotiate with them, among a “small group of rivals.”

This came as a disappointment to Brown, whose “preference from the onset was to leave Pittsburgh for the Patriots,” sources told La Canfora.

Brown is set to make his Patriots debut Sunday in Miami when New England takes on the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images