Troubled NFL Superstar Antonio Brown Joins Tom Brady, Bill Belichick in New England


There’s a new twist in the saga of superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown.

According to multiple reports, Brown has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots on a one-year deal worth up to $15 million, with a $9 million signing bonus.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Adam Schefter were among those to report the news.

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In case you needed some background — well, I’ve got quite a bit of it for you.

Brown was an Oakland Raider until earlier Saturday when the team announced he was being released. However, this only happened after Brown made it clear he wanted out of Oakland.

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So how did Brown go from catching 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns with the Steelers last year to being released before even playing a down of meaningful football with his new team?

Brown got into it Wednesday with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock over a fine letter he’d received from Mayock.

“In the letter, Mayock informed Brown that he was being fined $13,950 for missing a walk-through on Aug. 22, an unexcused absence. The letter also mentions that the team previously had fined Brown $40,000 for missing camp on Aug. 18,” ESPN reported.

Brown was not happy and posted a picture of the letter to Instagram, writing, “When your own team want to hate but there’s no stopping me now devil is a lie. Everyone got to pay this year so we clear.”

The exchange never devolved into an all-out fight, Ian Rapoport said, but it got close.

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More details came out Thursday, and ESPN and NBC Sports reported that Brown, who is black, had called Mayock, who is white, a “cracker.”

Brown denied this. However, he apologized for his role in the incident, and coach Jon Gruden said he’d play Monday night against the Denver Broncos.

But the uneasy ceasefire wouldn’t last.

On Friday night, Brown posted a nearly two-minute-long video to YouTube titled, “THIS IS MY LIFE. AIN’T NO MORE GAMES.” The video largely revolves around a phone call between Brown and Gruden that the wide receiver had apparently recorded.

“What the hell is going on, man?” Gruden asks.

“Just a villain all over the news, man,” Brown replies.

Gruden calls Brown “misunderstood,” then asks if he actually wants to be a Raider.

“Man, I’ve been trying to be a Raider since day one. I’ve been f—ing working my ass off harder than anyone. I don’t know why it’s a question of me being a Raider. It’s like do you guys want me to be a Raider?” Brown says.

Gruden responded by asking Brown to “please stop this s— and just play football. … You’re a great football player. Just play football.”

Brown wasn’t having it.

“I’m more than just a football player, man,” he said. “I’m a real person. I’m a real person. It ain’t about the football, I know I can do that. I show you guys that on the daily. This is my life. Ain’t no more games.”

ESPN reported it wasn’t clear when this phone call took place, though a source said Gruden thought it was “awesome.”

WARNING: The following video and Instagram post contain profane language that some readers may find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.

Brown wasn’t done. In a Saturday morning Instagram post, he asked the Raiders to release him.

“You are gonna p— a lot of people off when you start doing what’s best for you,” Brown said.

“And that’s fine! I have worked my whole life to prove that the system is blind to see talent like mines. Now that everyone sees it, they want me to conform to that same system that has failed me all those years. ‘I’m not mad at anyone. I’m just asking for the freedom to prove them all wrong.’ Release me @raiders.”

Schefter provided some insight into why Brown asked to be released. On Friday night, Schefter said, the Raiders fined Brown $215,073.53 for “conduct detrimental to the team” on Wednesday.

In so doing, the team reportedly voided the $29 million of guaranteed money in his contract.

Brown seemed to confirm this in an email to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington.

The Raiders “took away my guarantees,” Brown said, adding that there’s “no way I play after they took that and made my contract week to week.”

According to Schefter, the Raiders also informed Brown that if they do release him, “he no longer will be entitled to termination pay.”

Brown, of course, got his wish and was released.

Now, he gets millions in guaranteed money, as well as the chance to catch passes from Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady and line up alongside fellow play-makers Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas.

It’s good news for the Patriots. And if there’s anyone who can fix Brown, it’s New England coach Bill Belichick.

But for the rest of the league — well, that’s another story entirely.

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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