The Seahawks’ reported interest in Antonio Brown may take a pause after the NFL announced Friday it suspended the free-agent wide receiver for the first eight games of the season for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
Brown will be allowed to take part in a team’s preseason activities if he were to sign. If a team, such as the Seahawks, wanted to sign him now, Brown would have the next six weeks to learn the offense and have to sit out for eight games.
The Seahawks have been checking into Brown, but like all NFL teams were waiting to see if the NFL was going to levy a punishment.
NFL Media reported that the suspension specifically covers the NFL’s investigation into a felony battery case involving a truck driver and an allegation by an artist of sexual assault and that Brown is not expected to appeal it.
NFL Media reported that the league continues to investigate a separate sexual assault allegation, meaning Brown could still be suspended further.
It was already considered a longshot that the Seahawks would sign Brown, but rumors persisted, in large part because Russell Wilson is known to be advocating for it. Wilson and Seahawks’ backup QB Geno Smith have been working out with Brown this offseason.
The Baltimore Ravens have also been thought to have interest in Brown as quarterback Lamar Jackson publicly said this week he hoped the team would look into signing the receiver.
The NFL statement also said that Brown must “fully cooperate” with a plan for counseling, and that he could be subject to greater discipline if there are more violations of the league’s personal-conduct policy.
Brown, 32, took to Twitter last week to indicate he was retiring but later in the week posted on social media that he wanted the league to hurry up and decide on his punishment, indicating he was hoping to play this season.
But the suspension obviously muddies the waters for any team that might have been willing to sign Brown, and the most likely scenario is that he might sign with a team at midseason (all of which assumes the obvious — that the season goes off as hoped).
Brown hasn’t played since the second week of the 2019 season with the Patriots. He was released by New England following the revelation of sexual-assault allegations and sat out the last 14 games.
Assuming the suspension kills any chance of the Seahawks signing Brown, their chances of making an addition to the receiving corps likely rest on Josh Gordon getting league clearance to play.
Gordon was indefinitely suspended by the NFL last December for violations of the league’s policies on performance-enhancing drugs and substances of abuse.
Gordon missed four games, including the playoffs and is a free agent.
One report stated that Gordon would likely be suspended for at least two games for the PED violation with the question then becoming whether he would be suspended additionally for the other violation.