Many were distraught when they heard the news.
No, not that the Oakland Raiders had released All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown, but that the New England Patriots had picked up the talented, but troubled, pass catcher immediately after he was released on Saturday afternoon.
It was a no-brainer.
Too many were overly emotional about the scenario surrounding Brown’s release rather than the one simple fact which remains true: talent always wins out.
If we were fielding a boy’s choir, it would be one thing. But we’re talking about football.
Despite all the distractions and commotion caused by Brown, he was going to have a gig in the National Football League regardless of who liked it or not.
Simply stated, Brown is too talented not to be on a roster.
In fact, Brown is arguably the best receiver in the game. His career numbers, which are some of the best in the league’s 100-year history, consist of 837 receptions for 11,207 yards and 74 TDs and four First-Team All-Pro honors.
Still, many fans were jumping for joy, singing “Ding Dong The Witch is Dead” on Saturday morning when they thought he would be banished from the league for all his antics.
Brown was traded to the Raiders this past March and then signed a three-year, $50 million extension with Oakland. After a drama filled training camp, including “helmet gate”, unexcused absences and fines, he turned up the heat and released a controversial video on social media Friday night, which included a private conversation he had with Raiders’ head coach, Jon Gruden. He was hit with a $215,000 fine and then begged for his release on IG, which the Raiders granted while voiding his guaranteed money.
Some fans felt that justice had been served. The loud mouth, walk-to-his-own-beat Brown had finally been slayed. They wanted the selfish Brown to be punished, teamless and out of the game.
After all, they thought football is the ultimate team game and everybody has to be treated equal – from the biggest star to the last man on the roster.
It has never been that way.
The best players get away with more than the less talented players. That’s why Brown lasted on the open market for only a few hours.
And if it wasn’t the Pats, it would have been another smart team trying to win. The formula is easy. You need talent to win.
According to CBS, Seattle and Cleveland were also in hot pursuit of Brown’s talents.
“Antonio had a robust free-agent market and certainly a lot of options,” Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN. “But it was hard to compete with New England and that amazing opportunity, that great franchise and to play with one of the all-time greats, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.”
Plus, the Pats offered a one-year contract worth up to $15 million, including a $9 million signing bonus.
Brown, 31, wasn’t able to play for the Pats in their season opening beat down of the Pittsburgh Steelers last night in Foxboro, but he should be ready for Week 2 when his new team travels to Miami to take on the Dolphins.
Do you think Pats’ QB Tom Brady was worried about his team grabbing the baggage filled star receiver?
According to NBC on Sunday, Brady went up to team owner Robert Kraft multiple times and endorsed the move. Eventually, Brady said he was “one million percent” in with the decision.
NBC added that Brady told Brown that he could move with him until he gets settled in New England.
You can question a lot about the way the Pats doing their business. Let’s face it. The reason this franchise – which has won six Super Bowls the last 20 years – doesn’t get full credit for their excellence is because of all the scandals they’ve been in, including Spygate and Deflategate.
But the Patriots get the idea of amassing talent, even if there’s a risk attached.
It’s what they do.
You can call the Patriots the NFL’s General Hospital for Trouble Receivers. They took in Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco and Josh Gordon. They even drafted tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was on many “don’t draft” boards because of his gang ties.
Hence, the Pats are willing to take on another team’s problem, if they feel it’s worth it.
But you must also be smart enough to understand that issues come when you work with really talented people, too.
It happens in all industries, not just sports. Hollywood and the music business is filled with the pain-in-the-butt geniuses.
This is sports. Talent always wins out.