I once heard someone say that a man who has declared bankruptcy can be inherently trusted with money. It seems counterintuitive, but the argument goes that, at that point, he no longer has a safety net and will hence be reliable.
I don’t know if that’s true, but I can’t help but apply that logic to former Steelers (and Raiders and Patriots, kind of) wide receiver Antonio Brown. If any team were ever to take a chance on him again, he knows that even the slightest hiccup would end his career.
Brown’s name came up in headlines last week when Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson reportedly said that he’d like to have the seven-time Pro Bowler playing with him in Seattle. Apparently, Brown’s erratic, if not downright crazy behavior last year is no obstacle for Russ.
As the Patriots did for an ever-so-brief amount of time last year, Wilson sees Brown as an otherworldly talent more so than he does a migraine of a teammate. But could Antonio coming here really ever work?
If you need a reminder of Brown’s lunacy during his stint with the Raiders last year, here’s a run down:
- He missed 10 out of 11 training camp practices due to frostbite he suffered after not wearing proper footwear during a cryotherapy session.
- He filed a grievance to continue wearing his old helmet even though it was banned by the league.
- He posted a letter detailing his fines from unexcused absences on Instagram, and reportedly threatened to hit Raiders general manager Mike Maycock.
- One day after making an emotional apology to teammates and coaches, he demanded his release from Oakland.
Nutty as all this, it pales in comparison to some of his off-the-field allegations — namely the sexual assault Britney Taylor, Brown’s former trainer, accused him of committing. There was also a felony burglary-of-a-vehicle arrest last March, and well, this list can go on and on.
Even if the Seahawks did want him — a notion coach Pete Carroll essentially dismissed last year — Brown would first have to be cleared by the NFL after its personal-conduct investigations were complete. And even if he was cleared by the league, the team that opts to sign him would likely endure a public-relations nightmare before Brown took the field.
But what if we looked at this from a pure football perspective? (something I realize is difficult when we’re talking about AB.)
Pro Football Focus recently ranked the Seahawks’ receiving corps as the worst in the NFC West (17th overall in the NFL). Electric as Tyler Lockett was at times, and dynamic as DK Metcalf has shown to be, the group is still seen as a mediocre.
But put a well-behaved Brown on the roster and they instantly shoot toward the top of the league. And though most fans probably don’t like AB personally, I’m sure many salivate at the idea of giving Wilson the most talented pass-catcher he has ever played with.
But is a well-behaved Brown even possible? Based on his antics last year, the logical conclusion would be no.
It appeared as though he legitimately snapped, as he was somehow able to outdo his previous drama on a weekly basis. What if he has changed, though? Or what if he is so desperate to redefine his image for the sake of his future, that he actually became one of the more amenable players on his next team?
Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens had a reputation for dividing locker rooms, but the histrionics were rare in his first seasons with a new team. This likely stemmed from a desire to prove naysayers wrong about his attitude — a desire Brown likely has, too.
As for the Seahawks, they’re not afraid to take chances on players other teams have ostracized. Last season’s signing of Josh Gordon — who endured suspension after suspension for failing drug tests — proved as much.
And though Gordon failed another test before season’s end, he still helped the Seahawks win games at a minimal cost.
If Brown was, in fact, cleared to play, I have a hard time believing he would sign for a near-minimum salary. At this point, though, he might not have a choice.
Could he be in a Seahawks uniform next year? That seems unlikely. But I wouldn’t call it impossible.
Both sides could certainly benefit from each other.