Is the Antonio Brown whirlwind finally over?

The star wide receiver is out of an NFL job, but he may not be done just yet

By Hunter Ellis | Staff Writer

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The maelstrom that was the Antonio Brown saga has seemingly come to an end — or has it?

Brown was released by the New England Patriots after playing just one game for the franchise. While that may seem normal to some, this was a special case.

From late July to the tail end of September, few people were on news headlines as often as Brown. In less than a year, the seven-time Pro Bowler played for three different teams.

Where exactly Brown’s story starts may be hard to locate, as his career has been starlit, yet tumultuous.

All the way back in 2016, Brown, then with the Pittsburgh Steelers and arguably the most productive receiver in the NFL, faced his first true controversy. He was fined for a twerking touchdown celebration.

At first this might not seem connected to his current situation, but in that same season, Brown led the charge against the NFL’s anti-celebration policies. This moment marked the start of his outspokenness.

After the Steelers’ playoff win over the Chiefs in 2017, Brown streamed the post-game chat from head coach Mike Tomlin on Facebook Live, even though it was not supposed to be broadcasted.

Then, in October 2018, Brown was accused of nearly killing a child after throwing furniture from a 14th floor balcony.

He settled this dispute in June by agreeing to pay the child’s college tuition.

After being traded to the Raiders, Brown wore inappropriate attire in a cryotherapy session, leading to badly frostbitten feet.

Then, he filed a grievance against the NFL for not allowing him to keep his old, uncertified helmet. Finally, he nearly got into an altercation with Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock.

The last straw came on Sept. 6, when he posted a video on YouTube of a private phone conversation with head coach Jon Gruden. The Raiders released Brown the next day and voided his $29 million guaranteed contract because of his behavior.

Just hours after being released, Brown was signed by the New England Patriots. However, before his first game, Brown was named in a civil lawsuit claiming he assaulted and raped his former trainer. This came days after he was inked to a $9 million signing bonus just for joining the team.

He played that weekend against the Dolphins and looked good on the field, with four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. 

One day after the game, Sports Illustrated published an article with another allegation of sexual misconduct, this time from an artist in Pennsylvania. The article alleged that while she was painting a mural on his wall Brown came out holding just a towel to cover himself and made sexual advances toward her.

Then, she was never paid for completing her work. Later, it was reported that Brown had sent “intimidating messages” to the painter.

The very next day, the Patriots released Brown, claiming that his actions and decision to hide the sexual misconduct allegations from the team voided his signing bonus.

A few days later, Brown tweeted that he would never play in the NFL again.

In just the past week, however, Brown has hinted that he would welcome the opportunity for a return to the Patriots, despite calling team owner Robert Kraft a hypocrite on social media.

The Patriots’ offense has been struggling in the last few weeks, with several injuries to top receivers, and both Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have remained mostly silent on the issue, sparking rumors they are not happy with Kraft’s decision to move on from Brown.

Several other teams have reported interest in Brown, and there is a possibility he may return to the NFL. Brown has not yet been put on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, which would deem him ineligible to play in the league.

Brown is out of a job — for now — but his return to the NFL is still up in the air.