Antonio Brown has expressed interest in playing for the Cleveland Browns but the seven-time Pro Bowler isn’t making it easy for any team to consider signing him.
Brown spoke with TMZ on March 31 to talk about his NFL future, drawing a line in the sand on his ankle injury, which was the catalyst in his divorce from the Buccaneers last season.
“I need to get my ankle fixed, but I just want to make sure I got an obligation or a commitment from a team,” Brown told TMZ. “It’s a lot for a guy to go do surgery without an idea of where you gonna work, or who you going to work for.”
Brown is acting like he has the leverage in his current situation but the truth is that he’ll be fortunate if another team decides to take a chance on him, seeing as how his recent stops have ended.
If Brown does return, he doesn’t think that a reunion with the Bucs is in the cards.
“I don’t think that’s a possibility,” Brown said. “How things were handled. How I was handled in regards to the injury. [They] just weren’t able to use me for my value. My true value.
“For them [Tampa Bay Bucs] to try to manipulate the narrative or act like I walked away from my job is far from the truth.”
Antonio Brown Chimed in After Browns Trade for Deshaun Watson
Following the Browns’ blockbuster trade for Deshaun Watson, Brown expressed interest in landing in Cleveland through a series of tweets.
“Cleveland Antonio Browns,” he wrote. “C-A-B.”
He continued: “Take the Browns to SuperBowl. Not ToiletBowl.”
Brown is no longer the consistent 1,000-yard, double-digit touchdown threat he was during his previous time in the AFC North with the Steelers. However, the 33-year-old is still a reliable target. Brown caught 87 balls for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games over two seasons with the Bucs. Brown feels like he can still be a key contributor if given the opportunity.
“I’m a player first,” Brown said. “I couldn’t even be in this position without being a football player. So I never want to take that for granted. I would love to continue my career. I got a lot of game left in me.”
The Browns front office and ownership has not been shy to take on players with baggage — from Watson, to Kareem Hunt and Odell Beckham Jr. So perhaps Cleveland would be willing to take a run at Brown for the right price.
Browns Looking to Build Out Wide Receiver Corps
Brown is a wild card option but it’s clear the Browns will want to add at least one more veteran pass-catcher before the start of the season. Cleveland traded for Amari Cooper this offseason but young guns Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz would be relied upon to step up behind him.
An interesting opportunity for the Browns is a reunion with Jarvis Landry, with the sides having a mutual interest in getting back together. The Browns parted ways with Landry earlier this offseason in a move that saved the team $15 million on the salary cap.
“That’s his home and he loves it there,” Landry’s agent Roosevelt Barnes told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “There’s mutual interest in him being back there, but Jarvis also has interest from some other teams as well.”
The Browns have also sounded open to the opportunity with Landry but have remained vague on the details.
“I think we’ve got to let the process play out for all those players,” Stefanski said on Monday, March 28. “As I’ve mentioned before and you guys know, I love Jarvis the player, I love Jarvis the person, but we’ve got to let all that play out.”