Hours after Antonio Brown‘s viral meltdown on Sunday, Jan. 3, former NFL star and FOX analyst Michael Strahan went from humorous to serious.
Strahan made fun of Brown’s exit during the postgame show after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers edged the New York Jets 28-24. Brown left the game in the third quarter after ripping off his jersey, undershirt, and gloves.
Strahan changed his tune about the former Bucs receiver’s actions in the second postgame show after the late afternoon games. Notably, Strahan got called out by fans on social media about his imitation of Brown. The analyst shifted focus to Brown as a person.
“Obviously, this is not normal behavior,” Strahan said on the show. “So you’re saying he’s not going to be a part of this team. I’m fine with that. I think he’s obviously fine with that. But there is something wrong, because this is not normal behavior.”
“This is a man, this is not the first time we’ve seen something, not the second, this is the third time — and a lot of other things I’m sure we may not know about,” Strahan added. “I just hope that if he does need help that he’s able to get it because this man has a family and a lot of people who have looked up to him or people who depend on him. And I just hope he can just get the people around him to support him because this is just not normal behavior.”
“I know a lot of people look and go ‘oh, it’s great. It’s funny. We have great memes out of this,'” Strahan added. “But this is about somebody’s life — more than just a meme. I know it looks like he let down his team, but obviously, there is a bigger issue here that goes beyond if he plays football anymore. I don’t want this to end in a way which none of us are going to enjoy.”
Brown has five children with multiple women, including his former girlfriend, Chelsie Kyriss.
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Brown ‘Was on His Way to a Hall of Fame Career’
Strahan also talked about how promising of a career Brown had going before off-field and on-field actions derailed it.
“It’s hard to watch. Such a talented player,” Strahan said. “This guy was on his way to a Hall of Fame career there in Pittsburgh.”
Brown left the Steelers in 2019 and only lasted a few weeks in Oakland before joining the New England Patriots for a one-game stint. He signed with the Bucs in October 2020 after an eight-game suspension due to off-field trouble.
He played in eight games and helped the Bucs win the Lombardi Trophy. Things went south for Brown this season with a suspension due to a fake COVID-19 vaccine card and his sideline outburst at New York.
“Tom Brady was the one who had been credited with bringing him there, help resurrect his career, win a Super Bowl last year, and you thought it was going to kind of pick it up from there,” Strahan added.
Brown, a four-time All-Pro, arguably has Hall of Fame worthy numbers with 928 receptions for 12,291 yards and 83 touchdowns plus a Super Bowl ring. His character on and off the field will remain the question for the Hall of Fame voters.
Brown Could Return, Tony Dungy Says
NBC analyst Tony Dungy didn’t rule out that Brown could resume his career, but with a clear caveat, similar to Strahan’s concerns.
“I’ve said this in the past: I feel sorry for Antonio Brown,” Dungy said on the halftime show via Yahoo! News. “He’s talented, but he needs help. In the NFL, we’re not doing him any favors if we keep signing him and keep rewarding this kind of behavior. Don’t sign him until he gets some help.”