Antonio Brown is back in the league. The former Steelers All-Pro receiver is signing with the Buccaneers on a one-year deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Update: Antonio Brown and the Buccaneers have reached agreement on a one-year deal, per sources.
Language still has to be finalized, COVID protocols passed, but Brown is likely to make his Bucs’ debut in Week 9 against the Saints.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 23, 2020
Ego is a powerful thing. It just brought Antonio Brown to Tampa.
I’m not talking AB’s ego. His issues go well beyond ego. In this case it’s Tom Brady’s ego. The ego that makes him think his skills and presence are so transcendent, he can do what the likes of Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisberger, Jon Gruden, Derek Carr, Mike Mayock, and The Hollywood Florida Police Department could not do — rein in AB’s erratic behavior.
You can’t blame Gruden, Mayock, and Carr for thinking that at one time. After all, at that time AB had only worn out his welcome with one team, so you kind of figure in that instance, you could get at least one good season out of him before he goes off the rails again.
The Raiders didn’t even get a few months out of him. And if you are talking about training camp, they didn’t even get one day out of him.
Brown didn’t report to camp with what was supposed to be some weird, mysterious foot skin issue, but turned out to be AB just throwing a tantrum over not getting to wear his old style helmet anymore. Eventually GM Mike Mayock had to lay down the gauntlet and tell AB to show up or start getting fined.
This threat only seemed to cause Brown to dig in his heels, daring Mayock to fine him and so Mayock obliged. The response was more tantrums which included threatening to punch Mayock in the face and having to be restrained by teammates, and demanding to be traded. Again, Mayock obliged.
The talented, but troubled receiver had been given the longest leash in history with plenty of support from his head coach and it still wasn’t enough. He was actively trying to be released from the Raiders, and once he was, there was the infamous video he posted of him celebrating that he was free.
Free to do what, exactly? Well, within days, we got our answer. He was free to sign on with Tom Brady and the Patriots.
That marriage lasted one game before sexual assault allegations came out about Brown and he was released.
Then in the offseason, he had several run-ins with his local police department in Hollywood Florida. One was a domestic incident and another in which he assaulted a moving truck driver after refusing to pay him.
All of these incidents were no doubt taken into consideration when the NFL suspended AB for the first eight games of this season.
All of those incidents should also have every team in the NFL staying well away from receiver whose considerable troubles now outweighed his immense talent.
But not Tom Brady. The future Hall of Famer said several times that he would love to play with Brown again. This meant trying to get him on whatever team he signed with this offseason.
It was the Buccaneers who won the Brady sweepstakes. And just as Brady said he wanted, that marriage will be a package deal.
Brady already lured tight end Rob Gronkowski out of retirement to join in him Tampa, even with OJ Howard already there. And now, despite having one of the top WR duos in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Brown is now on his way as well. It’s clear Brady is simply trying to add every possible weapon he can for one big run at another championship.
Maybe AB can keep it together long enough to display his on-field talents. Or maybe his act will quickly rip at the seams of what head coach Bruce Arians built in Tampa.
It’s a risk. And while most rational people would probably think Brown could keep his head down long enough to get a ring, he has not displayed anything resembling a rational mind for some time now.
I guess Tom Brady figures he has six rings already, so he has nothing to lose here and everything to gain. I wonder if his teammates and coaches feel the same way.