Antonio Brown

Ravens GM: Keeping Antonio Brown Thoughts “In House”

Recently, Lamar Jackson created a bit of a stir when he worked out with free agent Antonio Brown. As a result, some have speculated about a potential fit between the Ravens and the controversial wide receiver, but GM Eric DeCosta didn’t have much to say when asked about his level of interest. 

Those are in-house things,” DeCosta said (Twitter link via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). “I don’t really feel the need to share that right now.

Marquise Brown – Brown’s cousin and fellow SoFlo native – also took part in the workout, further the chatter even further. The wide receiver position is somewhere on the Ravens’ to-do list this offseason, but DeCosta doesn’t sound intent on bringing Brown to Baltimore. At least, if he is, he’s keeping it mum.

Also, for what it’s worth, DeCosta recently indicated that he is happy with what he already has in-house at WR.

Do we feel the urgency? We probably feel that with every position,” the GM told the team website. “We want to be the best we can be at every position. This happens to be a wide receiver class with a lot of really good players. If we’re on the clock and we think that guy is the best player, we’ll probably pick him. Hopefully we can build our offense to the point where we can say, ‘Hey, we’re undefendable.'”

DeCosta also opined that there are “probably 25 draftable wideouts in this draft,” an indication that he’s looking more towards the rookie class than the free agent crop.

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Antonio Brown Hires Agent

Antonio Brown has hired new representation as he looks to make his NFL return. The free agent wide receiver has hired agent Ed Wasielewski of EMG Sports, as ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets

[RELATED: Antonio Brown Facing Three Criminal Charges]

Wasielewski will have the unenviable task of trying to talk teams into signing the controversial wide receiver as he remains in league limbo. Just last week, Brown’s list of legal trouble grew even longer – he’s now facing three formal charges stemming from an alleged January assault. The timetable for Florida authorities to dig into the matter is unclear given the current climate and the NFL has bigger fish to fry before finally resolving Brown’s status.

There was lots of talk about Brown reuniting with Tom Brady in Tampa, but GM Jason Licht says that won’t be happening.

We feel like there’s a lot of teams that are struggling to find one really good receiver. And we have two really outstanding receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin,” Licht said recently. “Right now, there is only so much money that can go around. There are no plans to sign any other receiver at this time.

“Antonio is somebody that Bruce has come out and had some words about, and Bruce knows him better than all of us. So right now, I would just say that we’re focused on other areas of our team.”

Ditto for head coach Bruce Arians. “Yeah,” Arians said. “It’s not going to happen.”

Despite his seven Pro Bowl nods and 11,000+ career receiving yards, Brown is going to be a tough sell for any team at this juncture.

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Antonio Brown Facing Three Criminal Charges

Welcome back to the news, Antonio Brown. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the embattled wideout is facing three formal charges stemming from an alleged January assault.

Specifically, Brown is facing “felony burglary conveyance, misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor criminal mischief charges.”

To review: a delivery driver alleged that Brown and his trainer assaulted him outside of the receiver’s Florida home. As Fowler notes, the battery charge “states that Brown was “actually and intentionally striking” the driver against his will,” while the mischief charge states that Brown “injured” the driver’s property of $200 or less. Brown had turned himself in to Florida authorities in late January and was later released on bond.

Realistic, the current coronavirus pandemic could delay court proceedings, providing extra time for Brown’s team to compile “depositions and provide its own witnesses.” Alternatively, the state may present Brown with a chance to negotiate a plea deal. The case will also be reviewed by the NFL.

It’s been a relatively quiet offseason for Brown, who’s looking to make his return to the field. There were rumblings that Tom Brady wanted to reunite with the wideout in Tampa Bay, but Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has indicated that that isn’t realistic.

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GM: Tom Brady Made Pitch To Buccaneers

Emerging late in the running and winning the Tom Brady sweepstakes, the Buccaneers are set for one of the biggest publicity spikes any NFL franchise has seen.

The Bucs edged out the Chargers for Brady, but the future Hall of Fame quarterback was interested in signing with Tampa Bay to the point he pitched himself to Bucs management. Brady first spoke to Bruce Arians and Jason Licht about a deal on Wednesday, March 18, and the seventh-year Bucs GM understandably exuded confidence in the team being able to sign the all-time great.

We had a great conversation — Bruce and I — we talked to him for over an hour and a half. And he made it clear in the conversation that he was very, very interested,” Licht said during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up (via ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine). “It was almost like a recruitment on his part, telling us why it would make sense for him to come to Tampa Bay. The next call we made, we signed him, but it was at that phone call that we realized, that we felt like we had him.”

Licht first contacted Brady’s agent, Don Yee, the moment the legal tampering window opened at noon ET March 16. Two days later, the sides had an agreement in place. By Friday, the deal became official.

Brady signed a fully guaranteed two-year, $50MM deal. He joins a Bucs franchise that has Pro Bowl wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. While Brady has been linked to an Antonio Brown reunion for a while, Arians slammed that door. Brady has displayed strong rapports with slot receivers throughout his career — from Troy Brown to Wes Welker to Julian Edelman — but the Bucs are also not expected to pursue another veteran wide receiver.

We feel like there’s a lot of teams that are struggling to find one really good receiver. And we have two really outstanding receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin,” Licht said. “Right now, there is only so much money that can go around. There are no plans to sign any other receiver at this time.

“Antonio is somebody that Bruce has come out and had some words about, and Bruce knows him better than all of us. So right now, I would just say that we’re focused on other areas of our team.”

In addition to Evans and Godwin, the Bucs have 2016 sixth-rounder Scott Miller and 2018 fifth-rounder Justin Watson under contract. Working behind the since-departed Breshad Perriman last season, those two combined for 359 receiving yards in 2019.

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Arians: Bucs Will Not Consider Antonio Brown

A reunion between Tom Brady and Antonio Brown already appeared unlikely, and Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has now removed any doubt. Appearing on CBS Sports’ “Tiki and Tierney” show (Twitter link), Arians dispelled any notion that Brown would surface in Tampa Bay.

“Yeah, it’s not going to happen,” Arians said. “It’s just not going to happen. There’s no room and probably not enough money. But it’s just not going to happen. It’s not a fit here.”

When pressed on whether he’d consider Brown on a minimum salary deal, Arians again demurred. “No. I just know him and it’s not a fit in our locker room.”

Brown, of course, hasn’t played football since Week 2 of the 2019 regular season, but he’s been linked to Brady on multiple occasions. The former Patriots signal-caller reportedly objected when New England released Brown last season following recurring off-field issues, leaving the club devoid of on-field weapons.

Arians previously worked with Brown as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator from 2010-11. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, don’t necessarily need any help at wide receiver; the club already boasts arguably the NFL’s best pass-catching duo in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

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Bucs Unlikely To Consider Antonio Brown

Tom Brady and Antonio Brown played one game together, but the future Hall of Fame quarterback and a wideout who was on course for Canton have been linked to a reunion on multiple occasions this offseason. Don’t count on it coming to pass, however.

The Buccaneers are unlikely to consider a deal for Brown, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). Brady is set to sign with the Bucs, who already have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in the fold. Although Bruce Arians worked with Brown in 2010-11 — when he was the Steelers’ OC — it does not sound like he on board with bringing in the mercurial superstar, Rapoport adds.

Set to turn 32 this summer, Brown has not played since the Patriots released him after his Week 2 cameo last season. Brady was not believed to support that decision, and the Pats struggled to assemble a reliable receiver depth chart for last season’s remainder.

Brown spent 2019 as a content-creating maven, going from the Steelers to the Raiders to the Pats. But multiple legal issues cropped up, including a short stay in jail, and the NFL is still investigating him because of the off-field trouble.

Although the Bucs figure to do plenty to attempt to make their prized free agent acquisition comfortable, Brown may be a bridge too far. The former sixth-round pick became a four-time first-team All-Pro and appears a lock for the 2010s’ All-Decade team, but he has become a notoriously unreliable asset. Brown filed a grievance against Brady’s former employer; that matter has yet to be resolved.

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Buccaneers’ Tom Brady Wants To Play With Antonio Brown

Teams that have spoke with Tom Brady in recent days believe that the new Buccaneers quarterback wants to reunite with Antonio Brown, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). It’s not immediately clear whether the Bucs are willing to sign Brown, whose status with the league is still up in the air.

We also heard chatter that Brady wanted to play with Brown in the lead-up to free agency, though those were sourced from anonymous people “close” to the wide receiver. Now, we’re getting word of Brady’s desire to play with Brown directly from the teams that were courting him.

From a football perspective, it would be a huge win for the Buccaneers. With Brown, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin at wide receiver, they’d be impossible to guard for opposing defenses.

Still, the NFL says Brown’s status remains under review. Even if he’s cleared to play, the Bucs might have reservations about bringing him into the locker room. Remember, even before all of the ugly accusations and disturbing social media videos, Brown was perceived to be unstable for his behavior in Pittsburgh and the drama that nixed his Oakland tenure before it even began.

Brown has caught 841 passes for 11,253 yards over the course of his ten-year career, which includes seven Pro Bowl appearances. Brady, meanwhile, has thrown for 74,751 yards and 541 touchdowns en route to 14 Pro Bowl selections.

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Tom Brady Hoping To Play With Antonio Brown?

Is Tom Brady looking to reunite with Antonio Brown? Two people close to the troubled wide receiver tell Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that the quarterback has told Brown that he wants to play with him again. 

It’s a surprising bit of news that perhaps should be taken with a grain of salt. First, we have to consider the source – those close to Brown would have incentive to push the narrative that the league’s most popular athlete is eager to team up with him. It’s also possible that Brady, who was friendly with Brown during his short stay in New England, is simply looking to keep up Brown’s spirits.

If Brady returns to the Patriots, it’s hard to envision such a reunion taking place. And, if Brady signs elsewhere, teams will have reservations about getting involved with Brown. Even before all of the ugly accusations and disturbing social media videos, Brown was perceived to be unstable for his behavior in Pittsburgh and the drama that nixed his Oakland tenure before it even began.

One of Brown’s attorneys told the ESPN duo that Brady has encouraged Brown to stay “mentally and physically strong” so that they can pair up once again. If that does somehow come to fruition, it’s not a given that Brown will be allowed to take the field in September.

Meanwhile, it’s anyone’s guess as to where Brady will wind up. The Colts and Giants are reportedly not among the teams chasing him, but the Chargers, Titans, and Raiders may be among the clubs looking to pry him from the Patriots. Despite his accomplishments, some execs have told Graziano and Fowler that they’re expecting him to fetch no more than $30MM/year on a two- or three-year deal.

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Extra Points: AB, Castonzo, Cowboys, Browns

Antonio Brown will soon be battling the Raiders off the field. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that the wideout’s grievance against the organization will be heard by an arbitrator in May. Brown filed a grievance over lost wages, including more than $30MM in guaranteed money.

Meanwhile, his grievance against the Patriots has yet to be scheduled, according to Fowler. Brown would be looking to recoup some of his $9MM signing bonus.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Colts offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo is set to hit free agency, and GM Chris Ballard is confident that the 31-year-old can still contribute for several years. The executive recently said during a radio appearance that the left tackle has three or four years left in the tank (via Albert Breer of SI.com).
  • Keith O’Quinn won’t continue as the Cowboys special teams coach, but he’ll stick around with the organization. The veteran coach has accepted the role of director of advance scouting (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). O’Quinn has been with the Cowboys for 13 years, including the past 10 on the coaching staff. He spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons as Cowboys’ ST coach, but he was replaced by John Fassel after Mike McCarthy was hired as head coach.
  • The Browns announced today that Jeremy Garrett has been hired as the assistant defensive line coach. He’ll work alongside DL coach Chris Kiffin, who was actually a graduate assistant at Ole Miss back when Garrett was a player. “I think we have both grown as coaches,” Garrett told Andrew Gribble of the team’s website. “I bet night and day he has grown from when he was a GA and coached me, and I have grown from when I was a player and starting off my coaching career. So I think we are both at a point that we have grown a ton and we are looking forward to continuing that growth together.”

Steelers’ Tomlin On Big Ben, AB

In an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, head coach Mike Tomlin touched on some of the biggest storylines surrounding the Steelers this offseason. A quick rundown of the highlights:

  • Despite missing the bulk of the 2019 season with detached tendons in his arm, Ben Roethlisberger has vowed to come back stronger than ever in 2019. In the interview, Tomlin expressed unwavering confidence in Big Ben’s road to recovery. “I have no hesitation,” Tomlin said when asked about Roethlisberger’s availability for the 2020 season (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). Recently, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert echoed those sentiments. The Steelers will not be among the many clubs engaged in this year’s QB carousel, though it stands to reason that they’ll consider quality backups and prospects who can be groomed for the future.
  • Antonio Brown is seeking to restore his reputation and return to the NFL, but he won’t be getting a second chance with the Steelers. “We have no current business interest at this time,” Tomlin said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Brooke Pryor). No surprise here – even before Brown’s personal life went into a tailspin, the wide receiver spent his final Steelers seasons at odds with Tomlin, Big Ben, and other key figures within the organization. It’s hard to see a path for Brown to get back to football, but he says that he’ll be in attendance at the combine later this month in hopes of talking with NFL teams.
  • After his reinstatement, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett stood by his claim that Steelers QB Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur to ignite the infamous brawl. Rudolph has rejected those claims and Tomlin stands with him. “I think his reputation needs to be defended and defended aggressively,” Tomlin said (Twitter link via Pryor).