Antonio Brown is an uber-talented NFL Wide Receiver, and could provide a massive influx of offense that the Patriots seem to desperately need, and perhaps calm any ill will between Patriots brass and Tom Brady. On the flip side, Brown is also a delusional mental case who could bring unneeded drama and conflict to a locker room.Amid his case with the NFL, multiple reports have stated that Brown and his camp are optimistic about his chances of being cleared. That has brought up both credible and random social media speculation that Antonio Brown is coming back to the Patriots, especially after his public apology to Robert Kraft which came after yet another of his Trump-ish social media tirades, in which he attacked the Patriots owner for his own separate scandals. New reports have suggested that the apology was personally requested by Kraft’s son and partner, Jonathan. It is a loaded question, but what is the best course of action for the Patriots brass to take in regards to Antonio Brown?
The Case for Bringing him Back
Those who believe Antonio Brown should be resigned assert that he brings an added element to the offense which they desperately need, choosing to ignore any off-field and locker room problems associated with this idea. They are correct in stating so. Brown only suited up for one game against the Patriots, against the Miami Dolphins. Despite only playing 33% of the snaps and amassing a huge lead eventually (23-0 lead after third, 43-0 final), Brown finished with a respectable 4 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown after being signed that Monday. Yes, it was against the Miami Dolphins, who are one of the worst teams in the league at this point (even though they beat Brian Hoyer and the Colts), but the point remains the same: Brown gave the Patriots consistent production they weren’t getting from any other receiver (or tight end) besides Julian Edelman. Any case for his return would rely solely on his on-field production and not any issues regarding his personal life, legal issues, and social media outbursts. Additionally, everyone can see that the Patriots offense is sputtering, and, while that may be to injuries on the offensive line, it is still problematic, especially heading into the stretch run and the playoffs.
The Patriots have generally overlooked off-field issues, notably with talented players like Randy Moss, Corey Dillon, LeGarrette Blount, and Brandon Spikes, which mostly turned out to be successful, with one notable exception. Plus, if the Patriots do decide to resign him, it guarantees he doesn’t go to the Kansas City Chiefs, who seem to sweep issues like the ones Brown has under the rug easily. Brown’s issues reportedly did not translate into the locker room, and multiple Patriots teammates have lauded his professionalism and work ethic. Additionally, when he posted his apology to Robert Kraft, multiple current Patriots liked the photo, leaving room for doubts with regards to his locker room presence.
The Case for Keeping him Out
Yes, Antonio Brown would have massive impacts on a faltering Patriots offensive unit. However, his off-field issues may be too great to ignore. Brown has been accused of sexual misconduct by 2 women, and the rape of one of them. These issues were serious to begin with, and then Brown, either mistakenly or purposefully (who knows) added one of his accusers to a group chat where he proceeded to trash the woman for arising these issues in the first place. That isn’t even getting into his social media use. He uses social media quite frequently, often for disparaging certain people or trashing the NFL. He has threatened his retirement twice, alluded to his incident 6 years ago on a punt return, where he kicked the former Browns punter, Spencer Lanning, after the Browns-Steelers brawl, seemingly in support of his former teammate, Mason Rudolph. The other problem people have with bringing back Antonio Brown would be his impact on the locker room and the standing of the Patriots organization. Certain organizations have developed a reputation in the industry for the acquisition of players who have suspicious backgrounds and allegations of domestic or sexual violence (see Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins). The Patriots currently have a somewhat clean reputation, except for the salty online (for lack of a better term) haters, who keep referring to the fabricated Deflategate, Aaron Hernandez, and an issue from 12 years ago to provide evidence for “dirtiness” within the Patriots organization. However, due to Robert Kraft’s legal issues, the Patriots are currently in a hole, and it would not make sense to bring back a man who has been accused of such heinous acts.
Ultimately, despite the Patriots offensive issues, the problems surrounding Antonio Brown are too much to overcome. As much as he would give to the offense, the man is clearly delusional, problematic in terms of the reputation of the New England Patriots organization, and the wide receiver is clearly too unstable to be a Patriot, despite the support of Patriots players. Unfortunately, despite the production he would bring, the allegations are simply too serious to ignore, and he might not even be allowed to play in the NFL until the cases are resolved. Therefore, I believe the Patriots should continue to roll with what they have. All things considered, I think signing him in the first place was a mistake, and bringing him back would turn out to be an even bigger one.
Photo Credits: Matt Stone