In a move that comes as little surprise given how attention-starved he is, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown will play for the Albany Empire, a National Arena Football League team he owns. NewsChannel13’s Rodger Wyland first reported the news.
Brown will only be suiting up for one game, on either May 27 or June 17. The Empire average 2,500 home fans per game, and Brown playing will likely bump that number up, even if it’s just for a chance for fans to see some of his ridiculous antics in person.
Brown’s made no shortage of headlines in recent months. He was recently sued for over $1 million by a celebrity jeweler for money Brown never paid for a piece of jewelry, had a warrant issued for his arrest for a failure to pay child support and then made a bizarre tweet announcing he would play for the Baltimore Ravens.
It’s a pattern of behavior from Brown, who, after forcing his way out of Pittsburgh, forced his way off the Raiders before signing with the New England Patriots. He played just one game, catching a touchdown pass from Tom Brady, before sexual assault allegations came out against him and the team released the eight-time Pro Bowler. He looked like he was going to revive his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his bizarre stunt to leave the field during a game against the Jets in Week 17 of 2021 pretty much ended his NFL career.
Brown’s father, Eddie, was a legendary player for the Albany Firebirds, a former arena football team also based in Albany. Due to his father’s popularity in the city, Brown became an owner of the Empire, but even that hasn’t gone smoothly. Several players and Damon Ware, the team’s head coach, left the organization following non-payment. All the while, Brown’s been trying to channel his inner Mike Tomlin.
Playing for the Empire might put some more money in Brown’s pocket in terms of gate revenue, but it surely won’t do anything to put him back on the radar of NFL teams. He’s done irreparable damage to his reputation, and at 34 years old, it’s highly unlikely any NFL team will ever give him another shot.