While the NFL’s regular season is coming to a close, Antonio Brown keeps finding his way into the headlines. Despite appearing in only one game this season, the wide receiver just won’t go away. On Friday, he actually took part in some football-based activities, working out for the New Orleans Saints.
Although the idea of Drew Brees working with both Michael Thomas and Antonio Brown might sound like a dream for New Orleans football fans, the wideout comes with a great deal of baggage. Would the Saints really sign Antonio Brown in for a run at the Super Bowl?
Antonio Brown’s fall from grace
During his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Antonio Brown was one of the NFL’s most dangerous receivers. This season, however, he has done almost everything besides playing football.
Brown began the 2019 NFL season with the Oakland Raiders but never seemed to settle down with the organization. The summer was marred by a bizarre case of frostbite, helmet grievances, and threats of retirement. Things calmed down as the season approached, but exploded again before Week 1. Brown got into a shouting match with general manager Mike Mayock; even after an apology, the receiver was cut.
After hitting free agency, Antonio Brown joined the Patriots. He played one game for the club but didn’t last long in New England. 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 to cut bait.
Since then, Brown has continued to spiral. The wide receiver has been fighting for the money that he feels he is owed and frequently takes to social media to share his thoughts on all sorts of topics; he retweeted dictionary.com, quoted Kanye West, and has lashed out against the NFL. While Brown insists that he wants to play professional football again, he hasn’t been helping his own cause.
Working out for the New Orleans Saints
Despite barely playing during the 2019 season, Antonio Brown suited up on Friday morning. The receiver, along with a few other free agents, worked out for the New Orleans Saints.
Despite the workout, there’s no indication that the Saints are actively looking to add Brown to their roster. Instead, they were simply doing their due diligence and looking at free agents who, in the case of an emergency, could join the team during the playoffs.
“The process is something we take seriously, and it’s important relative to the makeup of the team,” head coach Sean Payton explained. “We’re doing our homework. I think part of that is credibility we’ve already established. There’s been a number of players that we’ve signed or drafted in years past. Some worked out, some haven’t.”
Still, the prospect of Drew Brees throwing bombs to Michael Thomas and Antonio Brown must sound incredibly tempting to any Saints fan. But would the Saints really sign the disgraced receiver?
Could Antonio Brown really be a Saint?
While NFL teams are usually willing to overlook all sorts of personal issues in order to win, Antonio Brown doesn’t seem to be a fit for the Saints. Although he would help strengthen the team’s thin receiving corps on paper, things might not work out in reality. Even if the Saints are willing to play ball—and there’s no guarantee that they’d want to deal with a media circus during the playoffs—Brown might not even be allowed to play.
Antonio Brown hasn’t been put on the commissioner’s exempt list yet, but he very well could find himself suspended if he signed with a club. While everything is still hypothetical as of now, it’s worth remembering Brown met with the NFL in early November; if the league was going to let him off with a slap on the wrist, they’ve had plenty of time to conclude the investigation.
As long as Antonio Brown still has the physical tools to perform, he’s going to be linked to NFL teams. At this point, however, it’s best if everyone just moves on. There are simply too many issues, both from a legal and a personal perspective, to make football a top priority.