Free agent receiver Antonio Brown caused a stir this week when he randomly apologized to Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Several Patriots players liked the post on social media, including quarterback Tom Brady. Beacuse of that, and other reasons, people have been speculating about a return to the Patriots. That speculation reached a high point Thursday afternoon when a report came out that New England “kicked the tires” on Brown.
That report came from Christian Fauria on a Boston radio show. Fauria is a former Patriots tight end who played on the team from 2002 to 2005.
“I think they have kicked the tires,” Fauria said. “I know there have been discussions. That’s for sure.”
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Are the Patriots interested in Antonio Brown?
Fauria’s report was dismissed by a pair of veteran Patriots beat writers later Thursday night. Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston seemed pretty confident through his sources that New England has no interest in bringing Brown back in 2019.
Curran added that the Patriots are more concerned about “something else cropping up down the road” with Brown. And Curran’s report isn’t the only one shutting down the idea of Brown returning. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe also says Brown won’t be playing in New England this season.
One source told Howe, “If the Patriots were aware of this lawsuit beforehand, they never would have signed Brown in the first place.”
Why did Antonio Brown apologize to Robert Kraft?
So if Curran and Howe’s reporting is accurate, then why did Brown feel the need to release an apology? Most likely it was just Brown trying to salvage his reputation. It’s unlikely an apology on Twitter and Instagram would have any meaning to Kraft. If Brown was truly sorry, it seems like he’d have the connections to just call him up privately and do so.
With a public apology, Brown gets some rare positive coverage surrounding his name, and it looks good to other NFL teams. But, ultimately, it doesn’t mean a whole lot.
What’s next for Antonio Brown?
According to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, Brown’s camp “expects the league to clear him to return this season.” Brown met with the NFL last week in a meeting that reportedly lasted eight hours. But while Brown’s camp is apparently optimistic about the receiver’s future this season, there are clues suggesting otherwise.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that “barring a significant turn of events, Brown is not expected to play again this season.” For one, he’s caused a number of headaches in 2019. And two, his legal matter with Britney Taylor is still ongoing. Taylor alleges Brown sexually assaulted and raped her.
Even if Brown were to be signed on a team this year, he’d likely be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, meaning he wouldn’t be allowed to play until he’s off that list.