Antonio Brown Released: Latest Patriots Star Cut Too Soon

Antonio Brown

Getty Antonio Brown played one game with the Patriots.

The New England Patriots cut ties with troubled receiver Antonio Brown on Friday, just 11 days after he joined the team. It was an abrupt divorce for a player who had such potential to shine in the New England offense and clearly had a good rapport with quarterback Tom Brady.

Though Brown’s time in New England was unusually short, it wasn’t for lack of on-field production. He showed he was still a capable pass-catcher in his debut with the Patriots, snaring four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Now, he is once again a free agent. But Brown isn’t the only marquee player whose tenure in New England lasted less than a season.

Albert Haynesworth, once noted as a generational talent on the defensive line, only spent six games with the Patriots before he was released from the Patriots. Though a generation apart, it’s still an interesting comparison as to how the Patriots cut ties from him and Brown.

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Brown Wasn’t a Bust

The signing of Antonio Brown was controversial, but not for what the receiver was able to do on the field. Brown picked up the offense quickly, developed a good rapport with his coaches and teammates, and showed he could play well in a complex system.

Football wasn’t the issue. It was his off-field actions that doomed his career with the Patriots. Bill Belichick, a typically no-nonsense person, was forced to walk out of two scheduled press conferences due to questions about Brown’s off-field actions and it was clear he had had enough.

The release of a player for his off-field antics has been rare in New England, though it has happened before. Most notably, Aaron Hernandez was cut after being arrested for the murder of a semi-pro player. Brandon Spikes suffered a similar fate. He was released after a non-fatal hit-and-run on the highway was traced back to him.

Not Haynesworth It

Something Albert Haynesworth was infamous for during his NFL career was the little amount of effort he showed on plays once he was beaten. There was the famous play in Washington where he was blocked and remained on the ground.

His time in New England ended for just that reason. In a 2011 game against the New York Giants, Haynesworth, who was already on thin ice, was beaten too easily on a long-running play and summoned to the sidelines.

Then Patriots’ linebacker coach Pepper Johnson and Haynesworth proceeded to get into a verbal altercation which was later cited as a reason for his release. In six games with the Patriots, he recorded just three tackles, two solos.

Chad Ochocinco, who was also on the Patriots in 2011, was also released for his lack of production but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. Johnson was in the swan song of his career and looking to give it one last go with the Patriots. But he made just 15 catches in as many games and had one touchdown grab, prompting his release in June of 2012.

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