'Not a goodbye': Antonio Brown thanks Steelers fans in IG post

Graziano lists potential landing spots for Brown (1:09)

Dan Graziano lists the 49ers, Jets and Colts as teams that could be fits for Antonio Brown in 2019. (1:09)

Wide receiver Antonio Brown thanked Pittsburgh Steelers fans in an Instagram post Saturday but stressed his message wasn't "a goodbye."

In a post accompanying a video of fans at Heinz Field chanting "MVP" as he is being helped off the field with an injury, Brown wrote: "One thing I understand about this fan base and that I'll never forget and always appreciate is your passion. Know that it's all love this way and I am forever thankful for #steelernation ! (this is not a goodbye, just a thank u)."

The Steelers have not officially begun trade discussions on Brown, who was benched in Week 17 for skipping a walk-through the day before. Brown also had a flare-up with a teammate during the week.

Team president Art Rooney II had told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this month that it was "hard to envision" Brown returning to the Steelers but seemed to soften his stance last week when he told reporters he was "not closing any doors" on the All-Pro wide receiver.

However, when asked by reporters whether Brown could return to the team if he shows contrition, Rooney said he's open to other options but added, "there aren't many signs out there that that's going to happen."

Rooney expressed disappointment that he hasn't spoken to Brown since the season ended. He predicted discussions about Brown's future to heat up around mid-March. The new league year opens March 13.

Also last week, San Francisco 49ers great Jerry Rice said that Brown wants to play for the 49ers "really bad." The Hall of Famer discussed a FaceTime conversation he had with Brown on Sunday with radio station 95.7 The Game.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler contributed to this report.