The Antonio Brown Saga: What in the Hell was That?

Alex Edmonds
6 min readNov 12, 2019


Antonio Brown has created quite the rollercoaster experience for NFL fans and franchises over the past few months. Whether it was issues with finding a helmet, intentionally freezing his feet, calling a coach a cracker, or facing sexual assault allegations, this guy was in the headlines practically everyday. Which isn’t a completely terrible strategy, seeing as he garnered a lot of attention for himself. If he ever starts a reality show I will probably tune in.

I’m not really sure where all the drama started with AB, but after hearing some of his stories in Pittsburgh, it’s clear that Brown has been causing problems for quite some time now. It first started back in January 2017 after Brown went live on Facebook and filmed the Steelers locker room following a win against the Chiefs in the AFC divisional round. (First off, who actually goes live on Facebook? Seems like the move of someone with a ponzi scheme who never left his hometown). Anyway, the NFL and Mike Tomlin were not pleased with AB’s videography, as it is against the NFL’s privacy policy to film inside the locker room. Remember, it’s fine to give another player brain damage, but filming another player celebrating is where we draw the line. Good stuff Goodell.

After Brown was disciplined by the team, it later came to the Steeler’s attention that Facebook paid AB $244,000 to create content for them at the start of the 2017 season. I imagine Brown did this favor for Zuckerberg in return for cash and a reality show on Facebook Watch. I’m sure we’ll start seeing previews soon.

Fast forward to December of 2018, where even more conflict between AB and the Steelers ensued. Somewhere along the way, I think that AB found out that Ben Roethlisberger is in fact not Tom Brady and this led to a heated exchange between Brown and Roethlisberger in week 17 of practice. As a result, AB decided to skip out on the remainder of the week’s practice, leading to Mike Tomlin benching him for week 17 against the Bengals. At that point, it was evident that the Steelers had plans to cut ties with the All-Pro receiver at the end of the season.

During the offseason, a number of teams showed an interest in Brown. And although many teams were aware of his issues, AB’s talent was too much for certain teams to pass up. And by certain teams, I mean desperate teams. In the end, the Raiders were the ones to take the bait, as AB’s route running and speed had John Gruden foaming at the mouth. The mediocre coach decided that the Raiders needed a #1 receiver for Carr to throw to. Of course, they created this problem themselves after trading Amari Cooper to the Cowboys. That’s the Gruden strategy: trade present stars for future draft picks. Can’t get fired if your team is in the building stage.

The Raiders gave up a 2019 third and fifth round pick to the Steelers. And this happened just days after Brown went on ESPN and spoke about NFL teams, saying, “I don’t need the game of football. If they wanna play, they going to play by my rules.” Perhaps this should have been a red flag for John Gruden, but clearly the Raider’s coach doesn’t know much about red flags.

What ensued was probably the craziest offseason that any player has ever put a team through. Antonio Clown put his personality to work and created quite the circus for the Raiders organization. Take AB’s helmet situation for example. Where he decided to skip out on practice unless he could wear his old helmet. It was just stupid little antics like this that created a media nightmare for the Raiders.

But just looking at scenarios like this, I think the ultimate takeaway is that you can get away with practically anything if you’re a pro football player. A good one at least. I guess Aaron Hernandez might disagree, but you can certainly get away with being a diva, and you will always have people defending you because of your talent.

Just to an update, I intended to put this piece out over a month ago, but I got sidetracked with work/drinking, so I’ll try to make this as relevant and up to date as possible.

So over a month ago, AB announced via Twitter that he was done with the NFL. And as of now, he still has yet to play another snap. Even after everything he put the Raiders through, Brown claims to be very upset with NFL owners for not paying him his money. He clearly didn’t read the fine print, seeing as none of his contracts were guaranteed. In reality, this man should have been paying the Raiders for all of his bullshit antics. (He eventually had to).

The fact that AB has recently been complaining about money is absurd considering the obscene amount of stories we heard about his behavior throughout the summertime. I’m pretty sure I got a Bleacher Report notification about him everyday for two weeks straight at one point.

First of all, and on a serious note, the man probably has some sort of mental issue that we aren’t aware of. And if that’s the case then maybe we should be trying to get him some help.

I don’t think any sane person would pull some of the stuff that he was doing. Brown basically did everything he could to get dropped by the Raiders. I won’t get into the details, but he basically went as far as burning his own feet and calling Mike Mayock a cracker. Those aren’t easy things for a stable-minded person to do. Maybe he should have just tried the Eric Bledsoe strategy and said “I don’t want to be here.” That probably could have saved him his reputation. Or at least saved him some physical pain.

AB’s rollercoaster didn’t stop with the Raiders, however. To no surprise, Belichick and the Pats were right there to pounce on the opportunity to sign Brown. And who else would you expect? Everyone talked about AB joining the Patriots, and I though it was a meme at first when the rumors were going around. But of course, Belichick found a way to get the deal done. For the Patriots, not having to give anybody up for Brown meant no real risk. One year for $15 million was a no brainer for Belichick. For the extreme talent that Antonio Brown has, anybody would take that deal. Sure he might be mentally insane, but at least his route running is also insane (in the good way).

Fast forward a week after signing with the Pats, and AB had himself a highlight game against the Dolphins. (Even though every player has a highlight game against the Dolphins). Unfortunately for Brown, his time with the Patriots quickly came to an end when he was faced with rape allegations from one of his former trainers. Following the accusations, Brown apparently threatened this girl by including her in a group chat with some of his crew. The majority of his messages consisted of Brown insulting her, calling her broke, and criticizing her for making allegations against him. Probably not a good idea to do something like that over text. But to be fair, I don’t think Antonio Brown’s has any good ideas in general.

Once the Patriots caught wind of the rape allegations and threatening texts, the Patriots dropped AB with no hesitation. Belichick probably saw the news and went, “yeah get this fucker out of her.”

After the incident, AB followed up on Twitter, thanking the Patriots for the opportunity.

A couple days after that, he tweeted again, saying he was sick of NFL owners for canceling his deals and that he was still owed $40 million. He went on to criticize the NFL, saying they needs to hold owners accountable. A part of me thinks he might have gotten his money if he didn’t do all of this stupid of the field stuff. That’s just my take though.

Fast forward to now and we are pretty much in the same spot. AB still isn’t playing for anybody, and I don’t think he’s gotten charged with anything. But it’s not looking like he’ll make a return to the league anytime soon. And he’s way too mean of a guy to play in the CFL. They wouldn’t allow that.

All in all, I’m pretty glad that this whole situation didn’t work out for AB because it is always hard to watch good things happen to bad people. (I was pretty upset when Bryce Harper was given $300 million). If anything, I’d say this entire experience just goes to show that acting like a shithead will not work out in the long run. If you’re a sports fan who has kids, you could probably use AB as an example to your children, explaining to them that if they call someone a cracker, or try to burn their own feet, thing generally will not end in their favor.