Might Antonio Brown-Pete Carroll Be Like Dennis Rodman-Phil Jackson?

Antonio Brown

Getty Antonio Brown is in search of a new team after washing out with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots.

There has been all manner of speculation about where former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown might play this season.

Tiki Barber guesses that Brown will play for the Baltimore Ravens. That makes a certain amount of sense. After all, AB’s cousin, Marquise Brown, already plays for the Ravens, so both parties might have first-hand insight into the likelihood of a successful marriage. Plus, Antonio Brown might relish the thought of playing against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers twice this year.

Another recent report has Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson pushing the team to sign AB, with the Seahawks’ interest reportedly dating back to last year. That report prompted an interesting back-and-forth on ESPN’s Get Up earlier today, where the hosts wondered whether Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll would be adept at handling AB, much like former NBA head coach Phil Jackson got the most out of the mercurial Dennis Rodman.

The Last Dance Inspires Antonio Brown-Dennis Rodman Comparison

It’s not surprising that the Antonio Brown-Dennis Rodman comparison has come up, not with ESPN’s The Last Dance still fresh in everyone’s mind. After all, Dennis Rodman got significant face time during the ten-part documentary, which recounts the Chicago Bulls’ final championship season and revolves around the exploits of Michael Jordan.

On Get Up, the analysts mused about whether Antonio Brown would succeed in Seattle—and whether the Seahawks would succeed with AB.

“I think they would be an absolute beast [with Antonio Brown],” Tim Hasselbeck said. “I think it would change the dynamic of how we look at NFC teams if they had a top-flight receiver like that to support Russell Wilson.”

But could the Seahawks manage a player who seems to have an “unmanageable personality”?

“I kinda see it with Pete Carroll,” Marcus Spears said, “based on the players who have played for Pete Carroll, what I’ve heard and people have talked about. He allows you that opportunity to be yourself. Now obviously, AB has to make individual changes and he has to make decisions based on what’s best for everybody else around him. But with that being said, if I looked in the NFL and you were to ask me, give me a number of coaches than can deal with guys that are ‘different’—we’ll leave it at that—Pete Carroll would be one of those names in that list of guys who can get on dude’s levels and relate to them because that is what I have heard from his players.”

Hasselbeck concurred, saying, “Yeah, I think Marcus is right. I think Pete has always had a good way with certain players, trying to give them leeway, get the most out of them. At the same time, keep them in check.”

Could Pete Carroll be Antonio Brown’s Phil Jackson?

Yet it would seem to require a next-level effort to keep AB painting between the lines, so to speak. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was able to keep Antonio Brown in line and hyper-productive for many years, before things finally got so bad that the Steelers traded him to the Oakland Raiders for just third- and fifth-round draft choices. As it happens, that was a lousy deal for Oakland, seeing how the Raiders released him before he played a down for the team. Then AB lasted just one game at his next stop, in New England, where he caught a single touchdown pass from Tom Brady.

Yet Marcus Spears believes that Carroll might be able to play a Phil Jackson-like role in AB’s life.

“To me it’s a legitimate comparison,” Spears said. “If you think about the Zen-ness, for the lack of a better term, of Pete Carroll, there are similarities to what we watched Phil Jackson do with [the Chicago Bulls] and Dennis Rodman in particular. And being aware of what this guy needed differently with everyone else. And that’s a possibility with Pete…. I would be super-interested to see how that relationship would develop over time. I think Pete would figure it out, though.”

Of course, even if the Seahawks do decide to sign Antonio Brown, the NFL will have to give its blessing before AB can see the field again.

But truth be told, the prospect of AB playing for the Seahawks—or Ravens—isn’t as much of a longshot as the prospect of Antonio Brown joining Monday Night Football as a color commentator.

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