If you keep up with the sports world avidly, chances are you have heard the name Antonio Brown.
Brown was once a household name that every Steelers fan was proud to say they supported. From his fantastic performances, flashy moves, and the success he brought to the franchise, it seemed as if nothing could go wrong.
In March of 2019 the Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves in a sticky situation with two of their “Killer B’s” unhappy with the organization. Star RB Le’veon Bell was on his infamous holdout that lasted nearly two years. During this time, the Steelers organization was under immense stress and pressure regarding both Brown and Bell. At the end of Le’veon’s holdout, Pittsburgh decided to not franchise-tag the RB, and also decided to weigh their options and test potential trades for Brown.
During that same month, Brown made a statement to Jeff Darlington saying “I don’t even have to play football if I don’t want.” In the same interview, Brown proceeded to say, “I don’t even need the game. I don’t need to prove nothing to anyone. If they wanna play, they going to play by my rules. If not, I don’t need to play. Obviously, I want the game, but I don’t need the game. It’s a difference.”
Tragedy in Oakland
Once again in March, Antonio Brown was sent to Jon Gruden’s newly acquired Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas) Raiders. Brown was acquired by the Raiders from Pittsburgh for a 2019 third- and fifth-round pick. This trade seemed extremely sudden and almost too soon considering Brown’s comments on “… I don’t need the game” came just a few days prior. Gruden however, disregarded these critics and praised Brown’s ability to play football.
During training camp in the following month of August, Antonio Brown decided to undertake cryotherapy which resulted in an absolute disaster. According to Healthline, cryotherapy means “cold therapy” and “is a technique where the body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for several minutes.” Brown reportedly did not wear the proper protective equipment on his feet, which led to two frostbitten limbs. Since Brown’s feet were burned and frostbitten, he would be seen sitting out for the majority of the Raider’s training camp.
Following a training camp that was full of missed practices, avoidable injuries and his infamous helmet argument with the NFL, Raider’s GM Mike Mayock got into quite the scuffle with Brown at practice. After Brown’s fines from both the league and the Raiders, Antonio threatened to “punch Mayock in the face,” and then proceeded to punt a football. Brown said to Maycock, “Fine me for that.” What led to this altercation was the news that Antonio received from Mayock that he was being fined twice for his equipment issue with the league and for missing practices. Brown posted the fine notice to his Instagram account, which is an enormous violation of league and team policies.
The Oakland Raiders then decided to bench Antonio Brown for the following practice and planned to suspend the wideout.
Brown’s Raider Release
On Sept. 7, 2019 the Oakland Raiders announced Brown’s official release from the organization. Although he was released, Brown made a social media post that portrayed him yelling, “Free! Oh my god!” Brown then ran wild in his backyard with excitement regarding his release from the Raiders.
The 11-Day Brown-New England Era
On Sept. 9, just two days after Antonio’s release from the Raiders, the New England Patriots signed the WR to a one-year, $15 million deal.
The situation for Brown in New England seemed extremely hopeful, as Bill Belichick has a great reputation when keeping players in check and out of trouble.
Both Brown and the organization were excited to see the veteran WR play for the first time.
What both parties involve did not know, is that Brown’s first game as a Patriot would also be his last.
Antonio Brown would snag four receptions on eight targets with 56 yards, and one TD versus the Miami Dolphins. The New England Patriots shut Miami out by a final score of 43-0.
Just five days after Brown’s first appearance in a Patriots uniform, he was released by the organization. The release seemed to appear out of nowhere and for no good reason at all. However, the following day after Brown’s signing, his former personal trainer Britney Taylor filed a civil lawsuit stating that Brown had sexually assaulted her on three separate occasions. Brown then proceeded to publicly attack Taylor verbally through social media. This incident only fueled New England’s decision to release Brown.
The Patriots released a statement regarding Brown’s release that said, “We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”
Antonio Brown’s career seemed to be over with the chance of him being signed by another team slim to none.
Brown Signed by the Bucs
Antonio Brown signed a one-year $2.5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 27. Brown has been reunited with star QB Tom Brady following this signing. Brown adds an extreme level of depth to an offense that is star-studded as far as the eye can see: six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady at QB, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at WR, three-time Super Bowl champ Rob Gronkowski and a handful of other exceptional players.
In my eyes, Antonio Brown has the ability to make a positive impact with the Bucs as long as he can stay out of trouble. The Bucs have even emphasized to media outlets that Brown will be kept on a “tight leash.”
Only time can tell if Antonio Brown will clean up his act and climb up the ranks as a top WR once again. Unfortunately, if the Bucs do not work out for Antonio and he cannot behave properly or causes issues, his career will be as good as done.