The Baltimore Ravens have spent three draft picks in the first two days of the draft and four in total over the course of the past two years in adding wide receivers for third-year quarterback Lamar Jackson. After drafting Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin in the first and third rounds last year, they added Devin Duvernay and James Proche in the third and sixth in 2020.
Despite these investments, Jackson continues to push for the organization to add another wide receiver—one specific wide receiver, who just so happens to be a relation to his top target. Once again, he told reporters on Wednesday that he would like to see his team sign former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
“It was nice throwing to Antonio Brown. I was hoping we would get him. I’m still hoping—a little bit”, he told reporters. Earlier in the offseason, he was seen working out with both Browns, who are cousins, on their own. The team’s website has not been shy about featuring the workout or Jackson’s campaigning to bring him in.
A former perennial All-Pro who holds an NFL record by recording at least 100 receptions in six consecutive seasons, Brown is an all-time great in Steelers history, but he forced the team to trade him last offseason, for reasons that at least partially remain unclear, but at least involved a desire for a new contract, even though he had just signed a new extension the year before that temporarily made him the highest-paid player at his position.
Things did not go well from there. Highlighted by frustrations over the fact that his helmet was deemed unsafe, with the league forcing him to use a new helmet, he gave the Oakland Raiders a lot of grief, which ultimately became by design by the end, if it wasn’t all along. He posted a video of himself jubilant when it was reported that he was being released.
He then signed with the New England Patriots and ultimately played in one game before they released him, this time because he was caught intimidating a woman who accused him of sexual harassment. This was a second woman who accused him.
Since then, he has had only one tryout, and he has also been arrested for assaulting a moving truck driver back in January. He has threatened retirement multiple times only to retract it a short time later, demanding that the NFL complete its personal conduct policy investigations so he can pursue a new team.
“Around us, he was a great guy”, Jackson said of his interactions with Brown. “You don’t really see anything going on at all. He was a cool, down-to-earth guy. He’s passionate about the sport of football. When he was working, you could tell this man is going to go 24/7”.
He added, curiously, that in his estimation, “there’s no quitting with him”, and that he feels “that’s the type of guy we need in our locker room”. He argued that their locker room “is different”, that there is a brotherhood—but 31 other teams would argue the same thing.
And Brown quit on the Steelers at the end of the 2018 season, leaving practice and then going AWOL. He expected everyone to just let it slide, but head coach Mike Tomlin made him an inactive for the finale when he couldn’t get in contact with him, likely a beef stemming from that that helped fuel his motivation to force a trade.