NFL Decides on Future of Ex-Steelers WR Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown

Getty Antonio Brown at an NBA game last year.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is going to miss half of the 2020 season—at least.

This afternoon Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that the free-agent wideout has been suspended for the first eight games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Pelissero tells us that Brown’s suspension takes places effective week one, regardless of whether or not he’s on an NFL roster.

The suspension could also be extended by the league if further personal conduct violations are discovered.

NFL Teams That Might Consider Signing Antonio Brown

However, the suspension does provide a certain amount of clarity for NFL teams in terms of Brown’s long-awaited punishment. Knowing his potential availability, or lack thereof, perhaps makes it easier to sign him to a contract for 2020.

The Seattle Seahawks are one team that has given serious consideration to signing Brown. And Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson admits he’d like to see the Ravens sign A.B.

One team that won’t be calling Brown is the Pittsburgh Steelers. General manager Kevin Colbert closed out that possibility during an interview with PFT Live in February of this year, saying: “Antonio Brown will always be a Pittsburgh Steeler in our minds from that personal standpoint. We’ll always be there to support him when he needs help, if he needs help, and that will never change. But as Antonio Brown—84, AB—the football player? No, we’ve moved on from that, and we’re comfortable with that.”

Anyway, the team just came out from under the enormous $21.1 million salary cap hit that resulted from his trade to the Raiders, making dead money less of a worry for the Steelers going forward.

Antonio Brown’s Age a Concern?

One wonders, though, how long Antonio Brown will be able to continue playing at an elite level. Brown recently celebrated his 32nd birthday with a cake that can only be described as quintessentially A.B.—a cake that came in the wake of him receiving a $5 million settlement from the New England Patriots, for whom he played just one game last season.

Most NFL receivers are already in decline by their early thirties. On the other hand, San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice had three of his best seasons between the ages of 32 and 34, after which his numbers became much less remarkable. For example, at age 33, Rice caught 122 passes for a career high 1,848 yards and 15 touchdowns, the latter mark tying his career high.

In his last full NFL season, at age 30, Brown caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns. His career high in catches came in 2015 with 136 receptions. His career high in yards came in 2014, when he amassed 1,698 yards.

As of this writing, Brown hasn’t reacted to the NFL’s suspension on Twitter.

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