Life as an Oakland Raider was short-lived for wide receiver Antonio Brown. As of Saturday, the Raiders have officially severed ties with the seven-time Pro Bowler, per his request. Brown asked for a release via an Instagram post Saturday morning. Before we knew it, Raiders head coach John Gruden was addressing the media Saturday afternoon about Brown’s departure.
A lot has happened over the span of these past few weeks, so let’s take a trip down memory lane. How did we even get here?
After missing two weeks of training camp over a helmet issue, Brown reunited with his team. The unity didn’t last long, however, as Antonio Brown was notified via letter that he was being hit with some heavy fines. He posted the letter on Instagram with the caption, “When your own team wants to hate but there’s no stopping me now devil is a lie. Everyone got to pay this year so we clear.” The letter notifies Brown that he is being fined over $50,000 for missing both the team’s walkthrough and training camp in August.
Antonio Brown wasn’t the least bit happy about the fines and he took it up with Raiders GM Mike Mayock at Wednesday’s practice. In ESPN Josina Anderson’s report, Brown confronted Mayock about the fines and it turned into a heated exchange. Apparently, Brown had to be physically restrained by teammate Vontaze Burfict to diffuse the situation. Following the practice, the Raiders made a plan to suspend Antonio Brown. However, that did not happen. Brown returned to Friday’s practice, where he issued an apology at the team’s meeting. Anderson adds that Brown’s apology was an emotional one and he felt his team, “treated him like a family,” afterwards.
Gruden addressed Brown’s return to practice on Friday, “Antonio’s back. We’re really excited about that and ready to move on.” Antonio apologized to his team, Gruden was ready to move on, all seemed well. It looked like the drama in Oakland was over. But looks can be deceiving, because the nightmare of drama was far from over. A day after the heartfelt apology, Antonio Brown took to Instagram and requested the Raiders to release him.
This request stemmed from the second round of fines the Raiders issued to him. Essentially, Brown was fined by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team, which was following his confrontation with Mayock .They issued Brown over $200,000 in fines, while voiding his guaranteed $30 million. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reports Antonio Brown was upset because his guaranteed money was voided and structured his contract as week to week pay. Brown added that there was “no way” he played after they took his money away.
Brown’s request was soon honored. Just hours after his request via Instagram, the Oakland Raiders announced they had released Antonio Brown. This sent the entire social media and sports world into a frenzy. It is truly mind-boggling that the Oakland Raiders parted ways with Brown, just two days before the Raider’s season opener against the Denver Broncos. The Raiders had just received Brown months ago from a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Between the trade and now, the release, that is two different teams within a year for Brown.
Well, Antonio Brown is no longer an Oakland Raider. Was he ever? Brown missed most of his time at training camp because of the helmet drama, barely showed up for practice, and completely separated himself from the team. Not to mention, he never played a single game for the Raiders.
Plot twist: Within hours of his release from the Raiders, Antonio Brown agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots. He will earn an estimated $15 million over the course of this new deal. On paper, Tom Brady and Antonio Brown sound like a dynamic duo, but will it work? Only time will tell.
The Patriots, with Brown not yet eligible to play, beat the Steelers 33-3 in their season opener on Sunday night.