In the NFL, teams are willing to overlook a great deal in order to win football games. Players like Kareem Hunt, who assaulted a woman on video, got a second chance with the Cleveland Browns; Myles Garrett used his helmet as a weapon, but he’ll be back in uniform at the start of next season. Former Steelers, Raiders, and Patriots receiver Antonio Brown, however, hasn’t gotten another shot just yet.
The receiver has launched an offseason charm offensive, trying to convince any NFL team to give him a new contract. While the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t seem interested, Brown is still holding onto hope that he could rejoin the Raiders. Would Jon Gruden really take him back?
Antonio Brown’s downward spiral
When Antonio Brown forced his way out of Pittsburgh, the Oakland Raiders thought they had landed a talented, if temperamental, star player. In reality, the move fell apart before things even got off the ground.
,The drama, of course, started during training camp. Brown showed up with frostbitten feet; he also threatened to retire after the NFL refused to let him wear his old helmet. Things appeared to settle down but kicked back up before the start of the regular season. Tensions between Brown and Raiders general manager Mike Mayock finally reached a boiling point, and, after a verbal altercation and an apology, the receiver was cut.
Brown, of course, landed in New England. He would only play one game with the Patriots, though. A former trainer, Britney Taylor, accused the receiver of sexual assault. That news, taken in combination with threatening texts Brown sent to Taylor, forced the Patriots cut bait.
While it would have been easy for Antonio Brown to fade into the background at that point, he did the opposite. The receiver has used social media to do everything from retweeting the dictionary to starting feuds with former teammates. He’s been arrested, released his own music videos, and done just about everything other than playing football.
Hoping for a second chance with the Raiders
After months of bizarre, offensive, and, at times, illegal behavior, Antonio Brown has started apologizing. While cynics might say he’s trying to talk his way into a new NFL contract, the receiver has made quite a few public statements.
Brown has apologized to the Hollywood, Florida Police Department, the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, the entire NFL, and Ben Roethlisberger. The final message came on Instagram, where the receiver shared a photo of himself and Big Ben. “Mostly you a little bit of me,” Brown wrote. “Yee yee !! I never realized how good I had it, got caught up in my emotion with everyone coming after me I really apologize for my actions sincerely man ! It’s never been another connection like what we done in the past decade. I appreciate you. Sincerely AB.”
While Brown hasn’t formally apologized to the Raiders since last fall, he’s apparently hoping for a second chance with the club. On Monday, the wide out tweeted a picture of himself in a Raiders hat with the caption that read, in part, “I wore my raiders hat just incase of 2nd Chances.”
Don’t expect Antonio Brown to rejoin the Raiders anytime soon
During his time in Oakland, Antonio Brown seemed to go out of his way to burn every bridge possible. Unsurprisingly, the Raiders aren’t too keen on bringing the receiver with them to Las Vegas.
“Antonio Brown, I have very little comment about,” Mike Mayock said on Tuesday. “I think he had his time with the Raiders, and I think his time there is up.”
It’s also worth remembering that Brown still has plenty of off-field issues. As we learned during his ill-fated New Orleans Saints tryout, the receiver would probably land on the commissioner’s exempt list as soon as he signed any contract; that’s enough to make most teams keep their distance.
While the Las Vegas Raiders might not be interested in his services, Antonio Brown has more significant problems than a lack of an NFL contract. He needs to get his life back on track, not plot potential comebacks.