It doesn’t appear as though anybody is happy with the way Antonio Brown’s 2019 went. That may apply especially to himself, but he was successful in pissing a lot of people off along the way. And outside of having monkeys introduce draft picks, I always took Mike Mayock as a guy who was pretty even-tempered.
But Antonio Brown really marked Mayock’s first-ever foray into actually being responsible for building a football team. He build a fantastic career for himself as a draft analyst, knowing the ins and outs of the draft prospects and where they would fit in the NFL, but actually building an NFL roster and the intricacies and realities that go along with it is another matter.
He and Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden really patted themselves on the back for landing Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers for the seemingly low cost of third- and fifth-round draft choices. As you well know, they would release him before the regular season even began.
“Antonio Brown, I have very little comment about. I think he had his time at the Raiders, and I think his time there is up”, he said when he was asked to comment on his former player during his press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this week.
He would elaborate a bit more later on. When asked to break down and self-assess the current makeup of their roster, he said of the wide receiver position, “the Antonio Brown thing left a void that we weren’t really able to fill so we need to get better there”.
Brown was, of course, supposed to instantly come in and be their number one receiver, a role that he held with the Steelers from 2013, after Mike Wallace left in free agency, through the 2018 season, as he was drawing double coverage to open up JuJu Smith-Schuster, still leading the league with 15 touchdown receptions.
As you know, the Steelers were also asked about Brown this offseason, though I don’t think the New England Patriots were. Pittsburgh made it clear that, while all football ties between the player and the organization have been severed, the personal ones remain, and they are always open to him to reach out for guidance if he should ever feel he needs it.
Make no mistake, there are still a lot of people in the Steelers locker room who love and care about Brown, and frankly, probably want to help him. The problem with somebody who needs the help of others for a personal mental crisis is that they have to want the help, first, or at least recognize the need.