You may want to be sitting down for this, but according to an article recently written by Jeremy Fowler for ESPN, former teammates of Antonio Brown can hardly be said to be surprised with how the past year has unfolded for the 31-year-old wide receiver, who has been unemployed since very early on in the season.
So far as anybody knew at this time last year, Brown was expected to be continuing to make NFL history with Ben Roethlisberger on the field in the black and gold right about now. For reasons that remain not entirely clear, he chose to sabotage this relationship with the team, ultimately forcing them to trade him.
They found a trade partner in the Oakland Raiders once they were able to get the price down, ultimately getting the deal done with early picks in the third and fifth rounds, with the stipulation for Brown that the Raiders would give him a new contract as part of the deal.
All of that happened, but according to Fowler, the consensus among his teammates was that he was not going to make it to Week One in Oakland. Why? Because they had been around Brown for years, and understood how the Steelers bent the rules for him time and time again. He wouldn’t have that with the Raiders.
And we all know what happened then. Whether it was giving himself frostbite on his feet or railing against anything and everybody because he wasn’t allowed to wear a helmet deemed unsafe by the current league standards, Brown continually made mountains out of molehills.
When the Raiders chose to void guarantees in the contract they gave him for conduct detrimental to the team, he began to demand his release, seemingly upping the crazy. He even posted a jubilant video of himself celebrating when the word came down that he would be released.
And of course we all know what happened after that, as well.
Despite the pitfalls in his life, there are those among former teammates in Pittsburgh who still consider him a brother. Others are simply concerned. Joe Haden, for example, expressed hope that Brown “can get his stuff together. Because I just worry about him sometimes”.
Brown remains under investigation by the league stemming from sexual assault allegations levied against him by his former trainer. It’s unclear how long any potential interested teams are willing to wait on him, while many begin to wonder whether he will ever play a down in the NFL again—or if he deserves to, for that matter.