Since the beginning of training camp, former Oakland Raiders’ wide-receiver Antonio Brown has managed to captivate audiences with his bizarre, jaw-dropping and head-scratching antics both on and off the field. On one hand, his dramatic behavior has been selfish, prima donna-esque and downright distracting. Playing devil’s advocate and moving over to the other hand, the entertainment value of Brown’s actions on a day-to-day basis is comparable to that of an Oscar-winning performance preceded by an all-cameras-flashing stroll down the red carpet.
All eyes are on Brown, who reached an agreement this afternoon to play football for the New England Patriots after being released by the Oakland Raiders earlier this morning. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, via Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, New England and the receiver reached an agreement for one season that has the potential to be worth up to $15 million.
We aren’t talking pesos either. The contract gives Brown a signing bonus of $9 million and guarantees $10 million, with incentives worth $5 million. The haul is not too shabby for a guy who reportedly lost $29.125 million worth of guaranteed money from the Raiders this week for “conduct detrimental to the team”. He was fined $215,073.53 by Oakland, according to sources Schefter spoke with, which ultimately released the team from their financial obligations to the headline-grabbing star.
Brown missed a majority of preseason camp because of issues with his feet and his refusal to participate because of restrictions barring him from using his longtime, and now unapproved helmet. Wednesday, his on-field, verbal altercation with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock was “the-straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back”. Antonio openly voiced his displeasure with the fines and reportedly punted a football to spite Mayock, while also mocking the GM, urging him to levy more fines against the receiver.
Yesterday, Brown released a video via Youtube featuring a recorded phone conversation between Raiders head coach John Gruden and himself. In the conversation, Gruden asks, “What the hell is going on, man?”
Brown responds with, “Just a villain all over the news, man.”
The relationship between the Raiders’ organization and Brown soured the idea of a once optimistic pairing. Antonio’s out-of-control, unpredictable behavior obviously generated “trust issues” with his former team, and has deemed him a distraction. The events raised questions about Brown’s fit with the team. Now, he will take his daily circus to Foxborough, Massachusetts and try to redeem himself with the storied franchise.
You have to give Oakland some credit. By standing their ground and refusing to accept Brown’s poor behavior, they made a statement to all Raiders’ employees that they will not tolerate unbecoming behavior in the workplace.
Still, the guarantees by New England leave me scratching my head. There has to be language in the contract similar to the “void” clause enforced by Oakland. Otherwise, why would the Patriots’ head coach Bill Belicheck and his all-business, no-nonsense approach be inviting to a player currently dealing with so much scrutiny that results from his self-imposed drama? Don’t get me wrong, everyday I sit on the edge of my seat while waiting for the next episode/laugh to provide me with a comedic form of entertainment. Brown is a one-man-reality show, and his head is stuck so far up his a$$ it’s surprising he can even fit his “ego” into his preferred, illegal helmet, let alone New Englands’ locker room.
It’s a shame that the once respected receiver is now reveling in a “cancer” role where teammates and organizations may view Brown as “expendable”. He is the most-accomplished receiver of his generation, and has an unmatched work ethic that dwarfs the efforts of his peers and opponents. Sit back, relax and make sure your popcorn gets buttered because this cinematic, award-worthy masterpiece is only getting started and will surely stretch into February. Can Brown provide New England’s quarterback Tom Brady with another reliable, game-changing option, and impact a team with Superbowl aspirations? Or….will Antonio wear out his welcome with his new team quickly, lose his job and become a cautionary tale?
Photo Credits: via Instagram @ab