Antonio Brown

AFC Rumors: OBJ, Patriots, Miller, Raiders

Closing out the worst season of his six-year career, from a per-game production standpoint, Odell Beckham Jr. did not say whether he wants to be part of the 2020 Browns. He’s under contract through 2023.

I couldn’t sit here and tell you whether I’m going to be here, want to be here, don’t want to be here,” Beckham said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, adding that Jarvis Landry‘s presence has energized him about being with the Browns. “This is exactly where I’m at now and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. God has a plan. In the offseason, everything will figure itself out. I feel like I’ve been here before, answering questions about the next team when I’m on a team already. That’s just something I’m going to tune out for right now. Catch me in the offseason and we’ll see what happens.”

Despite Beckham’s disappointing year, the Browns will surely attempt to see if their recent trade acquisition can build chemistry with Baker Mayfield and bounce back in 2020. Beckham’s contract having no more guaranteed money on it, thanks to the Giants taking that on, would make the three-time Pro Bowler an interesting trade piece — if this situation did progress to that point. Beckham is due $14MM in 2020.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Tom Brady sought a longer commitment from the Patriots this year, but given one-year pay bump the sides agreed on, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran expects the iconic quarterback to depart in 2020. Brady’s age figures to be a sticking point for Bill Belichick signing off on a multiyear deal, per Curran, just as it seemed to be in recent years. A scenario where Brady tries to play until age 45 elsewhere would obviously create a major need for the Pats, who traded Brady’s would-be heir apparent to the 49ers two years ago, and would thrust them to the center of what will be a complicated QB marketplace.
  • As for Antonio Brown coming back to the Patriots to aid the defending Super Bowl champions’ receiving situation, that seems next to impossible. The free agent wide receiver shared a social media post (Twitter link) questioning Robert Kraft‘s desire to win (and one that referenced his alleged acts in the Florida spa sting). Brown, who has filed grievances against the Patriots, figures to be one of the most controversial free agents in NFL history in 2020.
  • Von Miller is battling an MCL sprain, one that forced him to miss his first game since he suffered an ACL tear in December 2013. The Broncos‘ star pass rusher is iffy for Sunday’s game against the Texans. The ninth-year linebacker indicated (via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic, subscription required) he should not play until he can utilize his array of pass-rushing moves, pointing to him missing at least one more week.
  • The Raiders worked out tight ends Matt Flanagan, Pharoah McKever and Bryce Williams this week, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Oakland also auditioned tight end Cole Wick, who booked the emergency tight end gig.

AFC East Notes: Brown, Pats, Jets, Fins

If Antonio Brown were to be reinstated by the NFL after the investigation into his accusations of sexual assault made against him in a civil lawsuit has concluded, Patriots coaches and players would reportedly “welcome him back,” sources tell Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Brown met with the NFL earlier in November, with the interview going “as well as it could have”, and is waiting to hear back regarding a potential reinstatement.

Owner Robert Kraft, who released Brown after playing one game with the team, is the deciding factor, and has not shown an inclination to give the receiver another shot after his repeated missteps on social media in the aftermath of his release by the Patriots months ago, according to La Canfora. However, La Canfora also states that if Kraft were to reconsider, sources have told him that Brown’s teammates and coaches would support bringing him back, with Brown’s chemistry with Tom Brady obvious from his initial practice with the team and Brown getting along well with all parties during his brief stint there.

Brown, 31, tweeted an apology to Robert Kraft on November 19 in response to a shot he took at the Patriots’ owner in September regarding his indiscretions at a massage parlor after being released. Brown has been tweeting out workout videos supporting his own notion that he is more than ready to return to the field.

From a football perspective, the Patriots could certainly use a dynamic playmaker such as Brown, especially one that already has chemistry with impending free agent Tom Brady. However, it remains to be seen if Kraft would once again be willing to take a gamble on the controversial star.

Here are some more developments from around the AFC East:

  • Rather than the customary approach of the team taking one, single plane to Houston ahead of tonight’s matchup against the Texans, ESPN’s Field Yates relays that the Patriots split up into two planes due to a swarming illness that has taken over the locker room. The Patriots listed nine players as questionable because of illness, including linebackers Jaime Collins and Dont’a Hightower, along with safety Patrick Chung. They have already ruled out tight end Ryan Izzo due to illness.
  • In a series of notes by ESPN’s Rich Cimini, he interestingly points out that one of the reasons the Jets traded linebacker Darron Lee to the Chiefs and benched highly paid cornerback Trumaine Johnson earlier this season before placing him on IR was due their lack of tackling. As Cimini points out, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams wants players that “enjoy sticking their face in the fan”.
  • According to multiple current and former NFL personnel people who spoke with the Miami Herald this week, even if the Dolphins do not pick number one in the 2020 draft, they may still have a shot at LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, as any team picking number one may elect to pick star Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young instead. If the Bengals, who have yet to win a game this year, are indeed awarded the first pick in this upcoming draft, despite the potential need at quarterback, they may feel that Young is too much of a dominant player to pass on. Young holds the school record for most sacks in a game with four and now holds the record for most sacks in a season with 16.5.

League Notes: Whitehead, Brown, Garrett

The Browns released safety Jermaine Whitehead following an outburst of threats against critics on social media. While it does not excuse Whitehead’s actions, a number of fellow players understood what led him there, according to ESPN Staff Writer Jeremy Fowler. Fowler describes it as commonplace for players to return to their lockers after games and check their phones before even removing their pads. Players describe an accumulation of frustration with fans criticism that often goes beyond and enters the realm of hatefulness.

Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree had a similar, albeit substantially milder, incident last season involving his response to a tweet. Dupree mentioned specific tweets, some that included racial slurs, that eventually pushed him to react. The league has an instituted “cooling off period,” which restricts players ability to post on social media after games, but Whitehead’s threats came far after that period ended. It will be interested to see if Whitehead’s decision changes how the league, teams, and players approach social media and if more players choose to eliminate the practice altogether.

Here’s more news from around the league off the field:

  • Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown had seemed hopeful that he could soon return to the field. While the currently unsigned wideout remains marred in controversy, a number of social media posts last week suggested he may have been approaching a new deal. However, there is no reason to believe any team would be interested in signing Brown at the moment because they believe he would be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list as soon as he was signed, according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post.
  • The NFL upheld the league’s indefinite suspension of Browns defensive end Myles Garrett yesterday. One point in Garrett’s appeal, which has garnered significant social media attention, was an accusation that Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph used a racial slur against Garrett that prompted his violent response. When the league upheld Garrett’s suspension, many assumed the league had reviewed the on-field audio recorded and found no corroborating evidence. That now appears to be only half the story. The NFL did find no evidence Rudolph used a racial slur, but the league also had no recorded sound on the field to review in the case, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

WR Notes: Hilton, Fuller, Rams, Brown

Hours ahead of a key matchup featuring questions for both teams’ pass-catching situations, let’s take a look at some wide receiver news from around the league:

  • T.Y. Hilton believes he will be given the green light to play in Thursday night’s Colts-Texans game, per James Palmer of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Colts do not have an issue with Hilton playing despite not practicing this week. Indianapolis’ top skill-position talent has missed the past three games with a calf injury. Hilton has dominated during recent games in Houston. In two games there last season, he combined for 14 receptions for 284 yards.
  • Will Fuller will return to action for the Texans tonight, Bill O’Brien said (via ESPN.com’s Ed Werder, on Twitter). Fuller has also missed the past three games, with the Texans deep threat’s absence due to a pulled hamstring.
  • The Rams look set to have their top three receivers back in action Monday. After Sean McVay expressed optimism Brandin Cooks will play against the Ravens, Robert Woods returned to the team on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Woods missed the Rams’ Week 11 game due to a personal matter, leaving Cooper Kupp as Los Angeles’ only starting wideout to play in what became a run-oriented game.
  • Antonio Brown‘s countersuit against accuser Britney Taylor centers on a confidentiality agreement the receiver claims to have signed under duress, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. The free agent wideout claims that during her meeting with the NFL, Taylor refused to waive the agreement — one the twice-released player contends would shed more light on his case against Taylor. Brown’s former acquaintance accused him of sexual assault. A statement from Taylor’s attorney (via Florio) indicates Brown is trying to blame the first of his two accusers for his 2019 actions and that Taylor “will not be bullied.”

Extra Points: Sanu, Brown, Bears, Lock

The Patriots‘ revolving receiver cast may be set for more adjustments. Mohamed Sanu may well be battling a high ankle sprain, according to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. While that is not confirmed, the recent trade acquisition did not practice Wednesday and is listed on New England’s injury report. A high ankle sprain would stand to sideline Sanu for multiple games. The Pats have cycled through numerous receiver combinations this season, with Julian Edelman being the only constant. Phillip Dorsett is in the Pats’ concussion protocol, meaning Edelman’s supporting cast against the Cowboys may be fronted by rookies N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers.

Here is the latest from around the NFL, moving first to a player not currently in the league.

  • Antonio Brown launched a countersuit against Britney Taylor, the first of two women to make sexual misconduct claims against the free agent wide receiver. Taylor filed a civil suit against Brown earlier this year, alleging sexual assault, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports Brown’s case will center around defamation and interference with NFL contract and endorsement opportunities. Brown remains hopeful the NFL will clear him soon; he met with the league last week. But a recent report gave Brown a long-odds chance of playing again this season.
  • Mitchell Trubisky was a full participant at Bears practice Wednesday, despite being removed from Sunday night’s game with a hip injury. Matt Nagy said he does not intend to bench his starter and plans to play him this week against the Giants. “We want him to be out there this week as the starter,” Nagy said, via J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago. “I’m hoping that’s the case. … These types of injuries, you get to a point where they are literally day to day and it becomes about where you’re at with the pain and how we manage that.”
  • Brandon Allen has helped spark the Broncos‘ offense, but the team would stand to benefit from Drew Lock debuting soon. Vic Fangio added an interesting stance Wednesday, indicating he does not think it’s “vitally important” the rookie passer plays this season, via Mike Klis of 9News. However, the Broncos do plan to activate Lock from IR either next week or in Week 14, per Klis. Denver selected Lock in Round 2 but saw its Joe Flacco investment fail, leading to more uncertainty at a long-troublesome position for the franchise. The Broncos could again be linked to top quarterbacks in the 2020 draft, just as they were in 2018 and ’19.
  • One of the Falcons‘ IR-return slots will go toward a punter. Longtime punter Matt Bosher returned to practice, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). Atlanta’s ninth-year punter cannot return to action until Week 13.
  • After placing fullback Nick Bawden on IR, the Lions worked out several fullbacks. Tommy Bohanon, Derrick Coleman, Tre Madden, Aaron Ripkowski auditioned for the Lions, per Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter).

Latest On Antonio Brown

Days after completing his interview with the NFL, Antonio Brown tweeted an apology to the Patriots and Robert Kraft — parties he previously criticized and parties against whom he’s filed grievances. But some optimism may now exist on the Brown front.

The veteran wide receiver is hopeful he will be given a green light to return to the league before the season ends, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Brown has enjoyed a historically drama-filled year but has obviously displayed Hall of Fame-level talent when on the field.

NFL punishment for the sexual misconduct allegations multiple women made against Brown could still come, and clarity is not expected before this weekend’s games. The league could hand down a suspension that prevents Brown from coming back in 2019, but there’s a chance that does not happen and the All-Pro talent will be eligible to play at some point down the stretch.

The Seahawks expressed interest in Brown recently, but with a possible ban looming, the team instead claimed Josh Gordon. While Brown’s 2019 actions have made him one of the most unreliable assets in NFL history, his talent may still entice a team to give him another chance.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Brown Completes NFL Interview

Antonio Brown‘s interview Thursday with NFL investigators went “as well as it could have,” a source briefed on the meeting told ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano (on Twitter). Brown, the source says, was open and forthcoming about his actions, while presenting his case well. 

[RELATED: Antonio Brown Not Expected To Play In 2019]

Brown is still awaiting discipline from the league and Graziano gets the sense that it will not come before Week 12 of the season. After that point, the league could theoretically hand Brown a suspension lengthy enough to keep him off the field for the remainder of the regular season, plus the playoffs.

For what it’s worth, Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, continues to insist that Brown will suit up for an NFL team this year.

I’m confident Antonio will play again this season. I believe the NFL should clear him after they interview him this week and I expect he will be signed shortly after that,” Rosenhaus said recently.

Meanwhile, Brown is battling for nearly $40MM in lost wages from the Patriots and Raiders and facing a lawsuit filed by one of his accusers, Britney Taylor. Even if Brown does not return to the field in 2019, he’ll have a busy schedule over the next few moths.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Brown Not Expected To Play In 2019

Given where we are in the season and in the league’s investigation of Antonio Brown, this will hardly come as a surprise, but sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com that Brown is not expected to play again this season.

We heard several days ago that Brown would finally meet with the NFL this Thursday as part of the league’s investigation into the sexual assault/rape allegations that two women have made against him. For some time, it was believed that the interview with Brown would be the last step in the investigation, but Schefter says that Brown has yet to turn over some of the evidence that the NFL is seeking.

Schefter says that three teams have been in contact with Brown — one of which may be the Seahawks — but otherwise, his report largely reiterates what we already know. For instance, if a team were to sign Brown, the league would be prepared to place him on the commissioner’s exempt list until the investigation is over, meaning that the acquiring team would be paying him to sit on the sidelines.

Plus, at least some teams believe that Brown will be hit with a suspension once the investigation has concluded, so even if the league was prepared to make a finding and impose discipline as soon as the interview with Brown is over — which is clearly not the case — Brown may not be eligible to play in 2019 anyway. Indeed, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the league’s meeting with Brown will take place in South Florida and not NFL headquarters in New York, which suggests that the league is still in fact-finding mode.

Brown says he is determined to return to the NFL, but it seems as though that will happen at some point in 2020, not 2019. In the meantime, AB will have plenty of things to worry about, including the lawsuit filed by one of his accusers, Britney Taylor. Per Schefter, Brown has now been served with the suit.

For what it’s worth, Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, continues to insist that Brown will suit up for an NFL team this year. Rosenhaus said, “I’m confident Antonio will play again this season. I believe the NFL should clear him after they interview him this week and I expect he will be signed shortly after that” (via Schefter on Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Brown “Determined” To Return To NFL

On Thursday, Antonio Brown lashed out at the NFL via social media and vowed to “never play” football again. Then, later in the day, he scrubbed those tweets and posts and told his followers that while he is “very frustrated,” he remains “determined” to return to the NFL.

[RELATED: Antonio Brown To Meet With NFL]

Brown was left in limbo for a long time by the NFL, but there’s finally movement in his investigation. The wide receiver will meet with the league next week to discuss allegations of sexual assault and, reportedly, Brown is eager to give his side of the story.

Brown, one of the most accomplished offensive players in NFL history, has been accused of sexual misconduct by two different women. Teams still want to sign Brown, but they’re looking for clarity on his situation (suspension or no suspension) before signing him. If Brown is not suspended by the NFL, he’ll stand as the biggest potential upgrade on the open market for the final stretch of the season.

Meanwhile, Brown is battling for nearly $40MM in lost wages from the Patriots and Raiders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Brown To Meet With NFL

Embattled free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown is scheduled to meet with the NFL next Thursday, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Brown is reportedly “eager” to sit down with the league, and there are still teams with interest in signing the veteran wideout, per Anderson. The league’s investigation into Brown is not expected to be completed any time soon, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

The NFL and Brown had been at something of an impasse: clearly, no club was going to take a chance on adding Brown to its roster while investigations into rape/sexual assault allegations against him were still ongoing, but it was unclear if or when Brown would actually meet with the league. Any team that did sign Brown would have been taking the risk that he’d be placed on league-imposed leave as soon as the contract was signed.

As Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes (Twitter link), Brown is up against the clock in terms of playing during 2019. There will seven weeks left in the regular season when Brown meets with the league, so a suspension of six games or longer would represent the de facto end of Brown’s season.

Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus has indicated a number of NFL teams have interest in signing his client, but thus far, only the Seahawks have been definitively linked to the ex-Steeler/Raider/Patriot. Seattle has since acquired another former Patriot — Josh Gordon — off waiver, making the Seahawks an unlikely destination for Brown.

Brown, 31, has caught 841 passes for 11,253 yards over the course of his ten-year career. The bulk of those catches and yards came between 2011 and 2018: he saw limited time as a sixth-round rookie with the Steelers and appeared in only one game for the Pats this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.