After announcing his retirement from football, again, Antonio Brown is indicating he wants to play ... again.
The NFL’s most notorious free agent posted a direct address to the NFL on Instagram requesting the league clarify his status as he tries to find a new team. The post comes just two days after Brown announced he was finished with football for the second time in the last year.
In the post, Brown claims to have complied with all NFL investigations and worked with the league’s designated therapists, but has still not received any word on when the NFL will decide on whether or not to give him the go-ahead for signing with a team.
Featured in the post is a video of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell telling reporters at Super Bowl LIV that the league wants to get Brown “on the right track” with its mental health resources.
Brown’s full comment:
I have complied with each and every ask of your investigations throughout the past 11 months. You have had access to all of my phones, you know what the deal is in each and every situation that the media has distorted. I have been seeing the therapist you asked me to, I have worked on all aspects of my life this past year and have become a better man because of it. The fact that you refuse to provide a deadline and the reason for the fact you won’t resolve your investigations is completely unacceptable. I demand you provide me clarity on this situation immediately if you really care about my wellbeing. My legal team continues to ask and you provide no answers. How is it that the league can just drag it’s feet on any investigation it chooses on players and we just have to sit there in limbo? Need an update so I can talk to these teams properly, they’re waiting on you @nfl let’s get this thing moving! We’ve got history to make!! #Himmothy
That sure doesn’t sound like someone who is done with football.
Brown appears to unretire ... again
Brown had posted a tweet on Monday in which he seemed to declare his playing days were over.
at this point the risk is greater than the reward thank you everyone who been part of this journey i sincerely thank you for everything! life goes on 84!
— AB (@AB84) July 20, 2020
Not many people took it seriously, as Brown had done pretty much the same thing in September of last year, then walked it back just four days later. Brown had also threatened to retire when the NFL wouldn’t allow him to wear his old helmet last offseason, which now feels so long ago.
Will not be playing in the @NFL anymore these owners can cancel deals do whatever they want at anytime we will see if the @NFLPA hold them accountable sad they can just void guarantees anytime going on 40m 2 months will see if they pay up !
— AB (@AB84) September 22, 2019
This time, it only took Brown two days to indicate he would like to play in the NFL again. The only question now is how much the NFL really wants him back.
Antonio Brown is in NFL limbo
Brown hasn’t played in an NFL game since his brief stint with the New England Patriots that ended after Week 2 of last season.
In the time since he last signed with a team, Brown has been accused of a plethora of sexual misconduct that includes rape, pleaded no contest to battering a truck driver and gone out of his way to antagonize the NFL. However, through all of that, he has never been formally disciplined by the NFL since the Patriots let him go.
Instead, the NFL has handled Brown’s situation by disincentivizing any team from signing him by threatening to put him on the commissioner’s exempt list if he joins a team. So, basically, any team that signs Brown without the NFL’s approval stands to still have to pay him while he isn’t allowed to pay. He could also be facing a potential suspension after signing due to his conduct over the last year.
Couple that with Brown’s well-known volatility, and no team has deemed his elite past production to be worth all the risks of bringing him in despite some players lobbying for him. That might be by design for the league, which has also indicated that it is concerned about Brown’s mental health.
Assuming he doesn’t actually retire for good, Brown will probably continue to push for a return as the season nears. Whether or not he gets it is more up to the NFL than any individual team.
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