The 2020 NFL season is getting ready to make its comeback but there is still a lot of uncertainty as to how the NFL will handle new safety measures and protocols. One thing is certain about the upcoming season: When the Patriots take the field, former wide receiver Antonio Brown will not be there, at least for now.
The controversial player will enter the 2020 season as a free agent as no team is interested in signing him. Brown’s continual string of bad decisions involving trouble with the law and personal misconduct has forced the seven-time Pro Bowler into early retirement. So far, it’s not going well.
Antonio Brown was notified today by the NFL Special Counsel for Conduct Todd Jones that he has been suspended the first eight regular-season games of the 2020 season, without pay. Brown is no stranger to flip flopping on his retirement plans, but even if he does decide to come back once again, he’ll miss half the season.
The NFL explained in a statement: “If he is signed before the start of the 2020 season, Brown would be eligible to participate in all of his club’s preseason activities. Brown’s suspension would take effect as of the final roster reduction on September 5. He would be eligible to return after the team’s eighth game.”
The end of Antonio Brown’s NFL career for now
At his prime, Brown was one of the best players in the NFL. Now, he can’t even get a team to look his way. Once the highest-paid wide receiver in the league, he has played in only one game since 2018.
The 32-year old disgraced player has been a free agent since September of last year. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders after spending nine drama-filled seasons with the Steelers. After non-stop spats with management and humiliating incidents, the Raiders general manager released the ex-NFL player before Brown even got a chance to put on the silver and black jersey.
The New England Patriots then picked up Brown but released him after playing only one game for them. The front office cut him after learning of allegations of sexual abuse. A federal lawsuit claims that Brown raped his former personal trainer, sending her inappropriate text messages and making offensive social media posts.
Another public relations nightmare
Brown vehemently denies all allegations and is fighting the lawsuit. In January, the former wide receiver was involved in another physical assault. This time it was between him, his new trainer, and a moving truck driver.
As NBC News reports, the All-Pro player received two years probation and 100 hours of community service for the felony burglary and misdemeanor battery charges. The free-agent must undergo a psychological evaluation and attend anger management classes.
Last year, NFL investigators met with Brown for 10 hours to discuss the sexual assault allegations. He missed most of the 2019 season because of his continued misconduct. It was after that meeting that the Patriots decided to cut ties with Brown.
In December, Forbes magazine named Brown to the 2019 PR Crisis List. They referred to him as a “one-man master class in bad PR,” citing countless missteps in the athlete’s career. Specific examples included frostbitten feet, disputes over a helmet, and endless confrontations with various NFL team management.
The gifted athlete is again threatening to retire from professional football. Brown recently posted several messages on Twitter, with one reading, “I came I saw I conquered mission complete.”
As TMZ details, this latest barrage of messages is quickly turning into yet another PR nightmare for Brown. He claims to be putting the game behind him for good, but time will tell if he stands behind his words.
Is Brown ruining his legacy?
This isn’t the first time Brown has threatened to retire as Essentially Sports details. He has done it so often that most NFL teams and fans no longer care. The controversial wide receiver has become a source for online memes instead of the gifted player he was once known to be. Brown is ruining his legacy and trying to drag out his career.
If the controversial wide receiver retired as promised, he might have left his dignity intact. The Central Michigan alum could have ended his career as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. To date, Brown has a career 841 receptions, with more than 11,000 yards and 75 touchdowns.
Had Brown left football quietly, he could’ve enjoyed retirement on his own terms. Now, it seems he’s working harder than ever trying to return to a league that no longer has time for him. His retirement status continues the trouble he’s caused in the past in both his professional and personal life. It seems like Brown has worn out his welcome in the NFL. This time it might be for good, even after his 8-game suspension.