Antonio Brown’s time with the New England Patriots turned out to be nothing more than a blip on the radar.
It lasted 11 days from the time he officially signed with the team, but consisted of separate allegations of sexual assault and misconduct and just one game played.
It also may be the final game Brown ever plays in the NFL, and probably should be.
Brown has been a problem off the field for quite some time, dating back to his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers — which ended with the receiver being unceremoniously benched before his final game.
The immaturity was always there, and that was combined with some erratic behavior that was on full display while he was with the Oakland Raiders this summer — which manifested into a blowup with the GM and his eventual release.
The Patriots understood the risks and knew there were red flags, but they pride themselves on bringing in the “problem” player and getting him to buy into their championship mindset.
The Patriots were one of many teams, according to Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, who were willing to take in the 31-year-old All-Pro wide receiver because his skills on the field outweighed whatever indiscretions came off of it.
Yet, even the mighty Patriots could not withstand everything that came with Brown. Perhaps a little deeper digging would have shown the worst was yet to come as Brown and his accuser, trainer Britney Taylor, had been engaged in settlement talks since April over allegations of sexual assault and rape.
Things only snowballed from there, and now Brown is again without a team, and this time Rosenhaus’ phone may not be buzzing as it did two weeks ago.
Past history indicates that may not be true. Players as recently as Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt have received second chances after serious allegations against them. Heck, Hill even got a massive contract extension in the wake of it.
But Brown may finally be the breaking point. He is one of the best wide receivers in the league, but his erratic personality combined with the serious allegations he is accused of doing may just be too much for any team to endure. It was for the Patriots, and they are always willing to take risks on players.
While Brown is not necessarily facing criminal charges either, he could still face discipline from the league as it does its own investigation — enough to steer teams away.
Brown also is not handling the allegations well. On Friday, before he was released, a story came out that he had sent intimidating text messages to a second woman who accused him of sexual misconduct in a Sports Illustrated story earlier in the week.
The incident was reported to the NFL, and they planned to speak with the accuser about it.
The drama never ends with Brown, and at some point the league needs to collectively put its foot down on players whose reputations only give the NFL a black eye.
Brown just may be the guy the NFL finally says no to, as long as they do it as a precedent and not an exception.