At one point, many people wondered if Antonio Brown would ever play in the NFL again. He found himself in trouble on and off the field, and was eventually away from the game for over a year. However, since signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, Brown has acted like a totally different man.
In fact, he seems to be using his latest Instagram post to try and further prove that he has indeed changed.
Antonio Brown appears to be turning over a new leaf
Since signing with the Buccaneers in October 2020, it has appeared that Brown’s focus has been on staying out of trouble. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians even said in November that Brown had been a “model citizen” up to that point, per ESPN.
Brown has said the right things, too.
“Being away from the game for a year-and-a-half, just to be able to be part of the process, to be out there with the guys today, was surreal, something I don’t take for granted, something I have a great appreciation for, a better perspective about,” he said in November, per ESPN.
Brown played well for the Buccaneers in 2020. He caught 45 passes for 483 yards in eight games, and he helped Tampa Bay win the Super Bowl. Since he proved he’s still playing at a high level and has ultimately stayed out of trouble, the Buccaneers then gave him a new contract this offseason.
However, while his immediate future is secure, it looks like Brown still wants to show that he has changed his ways.
His latest Instagram post was directed at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
Brown had several issues with the NFL during his stretch of on and off-field troubles. He threatened to quit football due to a problem he had with the league’s helmet rules, and he claimed to be retired multiple times after his 2019 release from the New England Patriots.
The league also suspended Brown for eight games in 2020.
On July 8, 2021, though, Brown directed an Instagram post at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
In addition to posting a photo of him and Goodell shaking hands at the Super Bowl, Brown wrote a caption that appeared to be a thank you to the commissioner.
“‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’ #APG (appreciation, perspective, gratitude),” he posted.
This post could ultimately be a sign of a new Antonio Brown. He could still hate the league for suspending him, but he is, instead, thankful for his second chance.
Hopefully, Brown has, in fact, moved past his previous run of troubling behavior.
Antonio Brown was in significant trouble on and off the field
Brown was on one of the most dominant runs in NFL history with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He earned seven Pro Bowl selections and was a four-time first-team All-Pro.
In December 2018, though, the Steelers benched him for their Week 17 game. Less than two months later, he and Pittsburgh agreed to part ways, and the Oakland Raiders acquired him in March 2019.
Brown then had a series of incidents with the Raiders, including the problem he had with the NFL’s helmet rules. Oakland then released the receiver after he had a run-in with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, and he signed with the New England Patriots soon after.
In September 2019, Brown’s former trainer accused him of sexual assault and filed a lawsuit against him, according to Sporting News. He played in one game with the Patriots before New England ultimately released him.
Brown was then arrested in January 2020 after allegedly attacking a moving company truck driver. The incident led to the eight-game suspension he served before playing in his first game with the Buccaneers in November 2020.
According to an Associated Press report on TribLive, Brown settled the lawsuit connected to the alleged sexual assault in April 2021. He then completed a two-year probation handed down to him for the moving truck incident a year early in June, but there was still a civil lawsuit to be resolved.
Brown’s issues were definitely troubling. Many fans thought he shouldn’t have even received a second chance. But it seems that he has a new perspective on life and his past behavior.
While his NFL future after this season is still unclear, it’s much brighter than it was just a year ago. Hopefully, Brown is a changed man.
How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference