Antonio Brown has had some time to reflect on the past decade of his life as an NFL player, all that he’s accomplished and all that he has lost as his personal problems off the field have spilled directly onto the field, the one place that was supposed to be a safe haven where he can find brotherhood, camaraderie and peace of mind.
According to TMZ, the mercurial wide receiver is doing a 360 concerning the way he conducted his business against the Jets two weeks ago. AB’s dramatic exit is now the stuff of legend. It’s also a legendary low moment for a guy who should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer upon retirement.
After sobering up on life and realizing that the NFL playoffs are just days away and he left his team flat in the middle of another Super Bowl run, according to FS1, AB tells TMZ Sports, that removing his jersey and pads during his abrupt exit “probably wasn’t necessary…or professional.”
A majority of logical individuals would agree that removing his jersey and equipment and storming out of the stadium into the tunnel like a stage performer giving their final bows during the last curtain of a long-running Broadway production wasn’t good for his football brand.
It’s the final image of Antonio Brown. Emblazoned upon the memory of every casual fan with a social media app. He essentially erased one of the all-time prolific careers by a wide receiver with one bad move (of many).
Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson told USA Today:
“‘What Antonio Brown did was a bad decision that will probably follow him for the rest of his life. When he’s my age. When he’s 61 years old. That will still follow him.”
Brown’s actions were abrupt, spontaneous and not well thought out. He already seems to be feeling that way in retrospect. The excuse caboose ran out in less than a week and all of that aggression he had towards the Bucs and the energy he was putting out seems to be waning.
The Circus Lasted A Week
People came to Brown’s defense citing mental illness as the problem.
Then they blamed Bruce Arians, implying that he was some dictator coach out of the 1960s who tried to force AB to play hurt and then cast the receiver away like some loose change when he refused.
In reality, Arians has the most diverse coaching staff in the NFL and has provided numerous Black coaches opportunities to advance their talents. He’s also a barrier-breaker in his hiring practices in regard to women coaches in the NFL. Arians is no-nonsense, but he’s got a heart and cares about his players.
When those jabs didn’t land, AB tried to attack Tom Brady, calling Brady’s friendship disingenuous, implying that Brady befriended him to use him for what he could bring to the Bucs on the football field. That might be true, but Brady didn’t have to let AB stay in his home. That’s what friends do. Not business partners.
The true reality is that Brady was the only person who cared at all. Brady vouched for AB when he was in legal battles, had burned bridges with half the league and nobody wanted to touch Brown.
Brown was already on thin ice before he bounced on the team.
There’s not a player in the league, past or present, who will vouch for what Brown did against the Jets two weeks ago.
Shannon Sharpe agrees with Dickerson that AB will regret what he did, but Sharpe says this latest incident might not be Brown’s worst look. Brown has a historical laundry list of personal drama that he’s constantly juggling while also creating more issues for himself in the locker room and on the sidelines.
“There will be a lot of things I think Antonio Brown will regret one day,” Sharpe said. “I don’t even know if this is in the Top 10 of what he will regret. I just wish AB instead of saying probably…normally when you’re going to issue an apology you don’t say this is something that I probably shouldn’t have said or done.”
Sharpe says Brown should have been more reflective and introspective after his nasty departure from Pittsburgh. Now here we are years later and Brown is offering the closest thing to an apology we’ve ever seen.
“I dont think AB will regret this until it comes to the Hall of fame. When he should be a no-brainer first ballot Hall of Famer, looking at his résumé, looking at his body of work. He’s an all-decade player of the 2010’s. When that first ballot comes out he didn’t get it and maybe the second, third and fourth ballot came out and he’s not in … Then maybe he’ll start to take a look back and say, ‘You know what? I shouldn’t have done some of those things.’”
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