The Antonio Brown saga with the Las Vegas Raiders is a distant memory for the team. However, in 2019, it was all anybody could talk about. The superstar wide receiver was the team’s big addition of that offseason and was supposed to be the focal point of Jon Gruden’s offense. Instead, he caused headache after headache until things came to a head and he got into a shouting match with Mike Mayock that featured him threatening the former general manager.
Brown was released shortly before the season started and never even played a game with the Raiders. While the situation didn’t have many long-term effects on the team, Mayock certainly wishes he could go back and do things differently. During an appearance on The Doug Gottlieb Show, Mayock was asked what was the one thing he would change from his tenure as Raiders general manager.
“I probably have a few but I think the hardest thing for me was when we traded for Antonio Brown going into my first season. And on paper, it looked good. We gave up a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to get an All-Pro wideout,” Mayock said. “And that was the year we were going to be on Hard Knocks and the last thing we wanted was to be on Hard Knocks my first year as a GM, especially Antonio who came back and he wouldn’t wear the helmet. He had a big helmet issue and then he burned his feet in a cryogenic chamber or something and he couldn’t practice. And then he left camp. Meanwhile, we’re drafting a bunch of young guys and we’re trying to change a culture. There’s a time and a place for that kind of player but for us and for me personally, that was a tough one and so that probably is what comes to mind most.”
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The Brown Debacle Isn’t Solely on Mayock
In hindsight, there were plenty of red flags regarding Brown during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was an elite player for years but his ego got to him. The only reason the Steelers traded him is that he was becoming too much of a headache. It was a mistake for the Raiders and Mayock to think his issues would be resolved with a change of scenery.
However, nobody can fault Mayock for taking a chance on one of the most talented wide receivers of all time at the cost of a third and fifth-round pick. It didn’t work out, in the end, it could’ve been a big deal for the Raiders if it did.
Is Brown Done in NFL?
Brown’s downfall started with the Raiders but it’s become clear it wasn’t the fault of the team. Since getting cut by the Raiders, he’s been cut by the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s still a talented player but he continues to be a major distraction.
That culminated with him taking his shirt off and running off the field in the middle of a game last season against the New York Jets. That move likely sealed his fate and it’s hard to imagine he’ll get another shot in the NFL. He’ll be 34-years-old when the season starts so there’s no reason to take such a big risk on an aging player.