You may want to sit down for this, because what I’m about to say may shock you. Against all odds, seven-time Pro Bowler Antonio Brown has announced he plans to resume his playing career after a brief, 48-hour retirement. Of course, that decision isn’t entirely up to Brown, who has mostly heard crickets since the Patriots released him following allegations of sexual misconduct last fall.
It seems Brown’s retirement earlier this week (which none of us were really buying) was born out of frustration at the NFL for its snail-paced investigation of the former Steelers and Patriots wide receiver. As he often does, Brown took to social media to air his dirty laundry, chiding the league for dragging its feet while demanding a timeline for the NFL to release its findings.
The 32-year-old said he’s been completely transparent throughout the 11-month process, complying with investigators by allowing access to his phone records and seeing a league-recommended therapist. Frustrated by the lack of response—Brown says his lawyers have hounded NFL officials for clarity on his playing status—the Central Michigan alum called the continued uncertainty “unacceptable” while pleading for an immediate resolution.
"How is it that the league can just drag its feet on any investigation it chooses on players and we just have to sit there in limbo?” Brown lamented to his 3.7 million Instagram followers in a post Wednesday night. “Need an update so I can talk to these teams properly, they’re waiting on you @nfl let’s get this thing moving!”
Despite the troubling allegations against Brown and his recent pattern of erratic behavior—he took a plea deal to avoid jail time stemming from a January arrest, instead receiving probation and 100 hours of community service along with court-mandated anger management and a psychological evaluation—the 10-year veteran still has plenty of supporters around the league. He’s been spotted working out with Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson (a teammate of Brown’s cousin, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown) this offseason and still communicates regularly with Tom Brady. Brown worked out for the Saints late last season, but nothing came of it.
Brown still has plenty to offer as a football player—he scored a touchdown in his lone game with New England last season and led the NFL with 15 receiving scores a year earlier despite being benched for the Steelers’ finale (the result of an explosive outburst at practice). But until an outcome is reached in his NFL investigation, signing him will be a tough sell.