Is Antonio Brown a Waste of Space?

Antonio Brown, a gem coming out of the University of Central Michigan, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He is highly regarded as one of the best pass-catchers in the NFL, which is why the Oakland Raiders traded for him this past offseason, after a bad breakup with the Steelers. However, the trade package itself should have foreshadowed just how toxic Brown really is on and off the field. With the sudden events unfolding in the veteran’s career, only time will tell how he will adjust to resurrect his social status as a role model, a player, and a teammate.

Grand Entrance

Last season, Antonio Brown arrived in “style” by showing up to the annual preseason training camp in a helicopter. While it was funny to most fans, and teammates saw it as a “flex” of his status, others saw it as disruptive and immature. Brown has always been a man of showboating. Wearing the most expensive apparel, driving the most expensive cars, and showing up to training camp in helicopters. That itself, shows his focus is on money and the need to flex in order to showcase his wealth. Not only did this happen in Pittsburgh, but as well as Brown’s first and last Oakland Raiders Training Camp. In case the helicopter entrance was not enough, he decided to one-up himself, as he arrived in a hot air balloon. Just when you think you have seen it all, Brown comes out of left field to show you there is another page to his long list of antics. Apart from the balloon entrance, Brown made headline news with his grievance file to wear the same helmet he has been using for the past decade. It is a new NFL rule, that helmet models dating back 10 years, must be replaced due to safety concerns, and Brown’s petty needs simply could not accept it. The Raiders provided Brown with every acceptable model to replace his old helmet, but Brown refused to wear any other helmet than his Schutt Air XP Advantage. He claimed that the new helmet face masks protruded and impacted his ability to catch the ball… After his grievance was denied, many would figure that he would accept defeat and just try a new helmet model of his choice. Antonio Brown is simply not that open-minded. The stubborn wide receiver filed another grievance and was turned down again for the second time. Now, the wide-out has found a new helmet that he is comfortable with, as he claimed that the first time he wore it, it fit perfectly.

A Knack for the Spotlight

After the drama with his helmet, Antonio Brown simply could not stay out of media for too long. He re-entered the hotspot when he and Oakland GM John Mayock got into it in a heated argument. The two figures went back and forth at a practice, ending with Antonio Brown saying he would punch the GM in the face, followed by punting a ball and telling Mayock: “Fine me for that”. The following day, the Raiders would list him in the injury report, saying he did not practice Thursday and would not be able to play in the season opener. However, after a sincere apology from the wide-out, it appeared that he and the franchise were on “solid” terms, and so the Raiders activated him on their roster for Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos in Oakland. Now, after a mere 72-hour period of antics and bizarre news, such as Antonio Brown’s youtube video recording critically of HC Jon Gruden, the Oakland Raiders released the former Steelers WR Antonio Brown, before playing a single down in the 2019 NFL regular season. Brown is now officially a free-agent and is permitted to immediately begin discussing with teams for a new deal. Oakland fans are heartbroken, Steelers fans are ecstatic, and everyone else is in complete and utter shock, as one of the most surprising offseason moves in the NFL this past season, is coming to a complete end and in its remains is a raging dumpster fire. Although Brown is a franchise player and is committed to whatever team signs him, this sudden unfolding of events is not all too surprising if you come to think of it. The wide receiver is a train wreck on and off the field emotionally. Outbursts and callouts on his team and players are not rare by any means, as you can expect to see them every week. Whomever takes the risk in signing the superstar, will have to be desperate beyond all measures.

Back to School — Old School

In the light of Antonio Brown’s release, there are some highly optimistic destinations that could make sense for the troubled pass-catcher. While they themselves might not be open to the idea, perhaps an older team with a lot of tradition could be willing to accept Brown, in hopes that they can change his attitude on and off the field. Let’s be honest for a second: Antonio Brown would have never played a full season for the Raiders for one reason and one reason only, and that is the fact that the Raiders are not winners. Brown is the type of receiver that needs a chance at winning it all every season to give him the motivation and chip on his shoulder. In Oakland, the only focus would be padding his own stats. There is no playoff hope for the Raiders, as they have an underwhelming offense, as well as a below average quarterback in Derek Carr. Brown, never winning a Super Bowl, strives for the competition that the playoffs provide. It is his end goal and it will happen one way or another for the veteran. He will do whatever it takes to make it, so that he can finally fulfill his dream of lifting the Lombardi Trophy. You might not have to look farther than a team who had the championship trophy named after their legendary coach Vince Lombardi: the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are well known for not tolerating any behavior deemed unacceptable, but the franchise might be more desperate than many seem to believe. Green Bay has an astonishingly underwhelming receiving core, due to the excuse that they are underdeveloped. The team, as well as veteran franchise QB Aaron Rodgers, are looking for ways to finally earn their second Super Bowl victory that the city, fans, and the players have been waiting for since their 2010 Super Bowl victory. Perhaps all they need, is another superstar receiver, that will allow Davante Adams to flourish, as it will also give Antonio Brown the opportunity to play in Super Bowl LIV. Rodgers simply needs more tools on offense, apart from emerging star in WR Davante Adams and RB Aaron Jones. The Packers have TE Jimmy Graham, who GM Brian Gutekunst and HC Matt LeFleur still believe, can have an impact on red zone scoring. Green Bay has had players in the past and present who had character issues and were able to contain them, such as the former SLWR Randall Cobb, 2x MVP QB Aaron Rodgers, and rookie RB Dexter Williams. The strict discipline that every player must maintain on the field, as well as off, is due to the fact that the Packers are a fan-owned team, and they are very involved in the community. The small city revolves around the franchise and so appearances of the players in the community are under a magnifying glass. The Green Bay Packers could be the ones to tame the wild beast that is Antonio Brown’s ego, and give him an All-Pro season, as well as a Super Bowl ring.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Antonio Brown was traded this past spring by the Steelers to the Raiders for a 2019 third-round pick, and a 2019 fifth-round pick. Players and fans were at a loss for words when the All-Pro receiver was traded for a bag of chips. However, everyone would now come to understand why the Steelers settled for such little in return for Brown. Looking into the future of Antonio, It is a guarantee that he will be signed by an NFL team shortly after his requested release, possibly even within the next 24-hours. The 7x Pro-Bowl and 4x All-Pro selection superstar receiver will play in 2019, and will be on a team that has the opportunity to make it to the playoffs, and even a chance to win it all. Regardless of who signs him, it will be a different environment, and Brown will not go to a team that is incapable of producing a positive winning season. Whether it is an older, more historic team of the likes of the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, or Chicago Bears, or a younger and more raw team looking to have an offensive playmaker to create that extra push such as the Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, or Jacksonville Jaguars; Brown is going to a playoff caliber team and he will have another chance of winning his first Super Bowl. However, the tunnel that Brown is in right now, might cave in and never open again if he messes it up once more. It would be the third team in two seasons that he would be excommunicated from, and no team would jeopardize their chemistry, off field environment, and salary cap to ink a troubled pass-catcher who simply does not understand when to shut his mouth and play the game, leading to the end of his career. There is a hand somewhere in the league wanting to help him out, but only time will tell if he takes it, or spits in it out of spitefulness.