Less than a month after being cut by the Patriots, it seems that Antonio Brown is already interested in possibly making a return to New England.
During an Instagram Live video on Wednesday where he referred to himself as the “best receiver” in football, Brown implored his 3.7 million followers to get in touch with the Patriots and then convince the team to sign the free agent receiver.
“If you guys follow the Patriots, tell them to call me,” Brown said. “They still gotta pay me, so might as well let me earn it.”
Although Brown’s plan sounds simple, there are quite a few obstacles standing in the way before he would be able to return to the NFL, let alone the Patriots. For one, he still has a sexual assault lawsuit hanging over his head. In the lawsuit, Brown is accused of sexually assaulting a female acquaintance, Britney Taylor, on three separate occasions between June 2017 and May 2018. Although Brown’s legal team has admitted that the two had a sexual relationship, his camp maintains that everything was consensual between Brown and Taylor.
Brown was also accused of sending intimidating text messages to a different woman who had accused him of sexual misconduct in a Sports Illustrated story that was published after the lawsuit came out last month.
The NFL is currently investigating all accusations made against Brown and although the league has yet to punish him, it did warn that Brown could be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list if he gets signed by any team.
“If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation,” the NFL said in a statement.
The reason the threat of the commissioner’s exempt list could deter a team from signing him is because it means the team would have to pay him, but he wouldn’t be allowed to play. The NFL hasn’t given a timetable for when the Brown investigation is expected to be complete.
Even if the NFL completes its investigation in his favor, a return to New England would probably still be unlikely, and that’s because he’s not exactly on good terms with the Patriots. A few weeks after his Sept. 20 release, Brown filed a grievance against the team in hopes of collecting a $9 million signing bonus that was never paid out, and that’s not even his biggest issue.
Shortly after he was released, Brown took a shot at Robert Kraft on Twitter. In the tweet, Brown insinuated that Kraft’s case from earlier this year was actually worse than his, since Brown’s case is only based on accusations. Kraft was charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting another to commit prostitution on Feb. 22 in a case that’s still open. Kraft was apparently not thrilled with the tweet.
Despite all that, Brown is still hoping to return to the NFL this season.
“If I can ever get back in the game, I gotta, so I’m going to get back to work,” Brown said. “To all my real AB supporters, just know that I’m doing everything in my power [to return]. I’m making God proud: I’m in school, I”m training, I’m visiting high schools. Doing everything to get back. Whatever I can do to get back in the game, I gotta [do it].”
If the NFL doesn’t work out, don’t look for Brown in the XFL. He didn’t sound too thrilled about that option during his Instagram chat.
“XFL, never, that’s not even in the question,” Brown said.
If things don’t work out with the Patriots, there’s a chance Brown could land somewhere else. After his release, Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said there were multiple teams interested in adding the receiver, but they wanted to see how his legal situation played out before potentially signing him to a deal.
Brown has been cut by two different teams since Sept. 1.