Antonio Brown’s year-long meltdown dominated the early weeks of the 2019 season. From his exit from the Pittsburgh Steelers to brief his Oakland Raiders tenure, Brown made headlines throughout the tumultuous offseason. It all came to a halt when the Raiders cut Brown, the Patriots signed him, and he was eventually released after serious allegations of sexual misconduct.
Despite this, he still managed to get himself a performance bonus during one game as a Patriot.
Antonio Brown’s rise and fall
At the top of his game, details Pro-Football-Reference, Brown is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. His nine-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers made him a favorite thanks to his unmatched ability to get the ball down the field and into the endzone.
With Ben Roethlisberger throwing passes his way, Brown became a perennial All-Pro receiver. He also was known for his public outbursts, opinionated rantings, and ability to burn bridges.
After the Steelers lost in 2015, Brown went public with his disdain for the franchise he called home. He felt that the team played favorites with Roethlisberger while throwing others under the bus. The Steelers made it clear that Brown was on the way out, and Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders pounced at the opportunity.
The Brown circus
Initially, all the right things were said. The Raiders signed Brown to an extension as a means to show their commitment to him. Even Brown’s bout with frostbite thanks to a cryotherapy chamber didn’t cause a rift with the team.
By the time he arrived on the field, however, an exit from the Raiders began to take form. It began as an argument about the NFL’s helmet policy. Brown claimed that the new rules didn’t let him wear his desired helmet and fought the league for his right to wear the ones he wanted.
After losing the appeal, Brown was fined by the Raiders. He posted a letter from general manager Mike Mayock after reportedly confronting him about the fines. Brown initially apologized, but later posted a video of a call he had with Gruden. This eventually became too much for the Raiders, and they released Brown after he requested it following another fine. He eventually signed with the Patriots.
Antonio Brown takes New England
Brown’s tenure in New England was brief. He came off the bench for one game, was targeted eight times, and recorded four receptions for 56 yards. Soon after, however, Brown’s saga grew even more intense. On September 10, Brown was hit with three separate accusations of sexual assault and rape, reports NBC Sports. The Patriots initially declined to comment, but as things heated up they were left with no choice.
“The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown,” the team said in an issued statement. “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.”
Brown had become too much of a sideshow for the team. While his talent was never in question, his antics had made him a pariah in NFL circles. Despite such a short tenure, however, Brown managed to get a bonus during his single-game stint with the team.
Brown’s 21 snaps during the Week 2 game against the Miami Dolphins was enough to get him a bonus. Considering the millions he lost out on, the $1,132 may seem like chump change, as ESPN details. However, the bonus gives a fascinating insight into how the financial side of the NFL works.
Brown is still without a team, but many teams are reportedly interested in bringing him back. As long as this dark cloud hangs over him, however, it is hard to imagine that Brown will see the field again any time soon.