What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, Antonio Brown was getting ready for OTAs with the Raiders and there was an endless amount of hype about what he’d bring to their offense. Fast forward to 2020 and Brown has no job and very little prospects.
In fact, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, it’s far from a certainty any team is willing to take a chance on him at any point this season.
“Let’s go to Antonio Brown — now, this is an interesting case because the NFL, I’m told, is still reviewing his personal conduct case that there is just a lot to unpack,” Fowler said on Sportscenter on Sunday. “You have the September allegations, of course, of sexual assault and rape. You have an incident with a truck driver that resulted in battery charges.
“And so, there’s just not a lot of buzz right now, league-wide, about signing Antonio Brown. And that’s in part because there could be a lengthy suspension coming for him. So despite the talent, hardly a slam dunk that he plays in 2020.”
That’s a massive fall from grace for a player who looked like he could retire as one of the 10 best wide receivers to play the game.
Some Teams Have Expressed Interest in Him
While there are serious red flags surrounding Brown, his talent could win out in the end. It’s not likely he’ll get a shot with a team before the season starts. Only a team that’s desperate for wide receiver help will even consider taking a chance on him.
That hasn’t stopped some prominent quarterbacks from at least trying to get their teams to look into Brown. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has stated that he’d like to play with him and there are rumors that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is trying to get him on the team.
It’s easy to understand why quarterbacks would want to play with him. He could come in day one and still be the best wide receiver on almost any team. However, he’s a coach’s and owner’s worst nightmare. Brown has actually done a fairly good job of staying out of trouble over the last few months. It appears he’s mainly been focusing on working out. That said, it’s impossible to know if he’ll stay out of trouble once he gets back on the field and starts putting up monster numbers. He could revert back to his ways if that happens.
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Raiders Should Be in for Harmonious Training Camp
The Raiders had a lot of momentum heading into the 2019 season before Brown crushed a lot of it. The team was a tight-knit group and appeared to have a very strong wide receiver corps. Brown became an immediate distraction as training camp started. He froze his feet and then got caught up with the helmet drama.
It all culminated with Brown getting in a fight with general manager Mike Mayock in front of the entire team. It took a couple of days, but he was eventually cut loose. This year, the Raiders shouldn’t have the same problems. They’ve filled the roster with high-character players and some exciting rookies. They still don’t have anybody at the skill level of Brown but training camp should be pretty drama-free for the silver and black.