As any close observer of the Seahawks should know by now, the public stance of coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider is that the team will always research any player who becomes available that they think can help.
Last September, the Seahawks acknowledged they were ready to make a run at receiver Antonio Brown if there had been a legitimate chance to sign him.
“We were involved in that one,” Carroll said then. “We were ready if something was there.”
Nothing was, as Brown almost immediately signed with the Patriots after being released by the Raiders, who had grown frustrated with the talented-but-troubled receiver.
Brown lasted just 11 days with the Patriots. He was released after a civil lawsuit was filed against him for alleged sexual assault, as well as published accounts in Sports Illustrated from another woman detailing allegations of unwanted sexual advances.
The NFL announced it was investigating Brown under its personal-conduct policy — an investigation that remains ongoing. He could face a significant suspension.
Brown has remained a free agent with no indication of serious interest from any team. He had a tryout with the Saints last December that ended with Brown accusing the team of making it “a publicity stunt.”
So could the Seahawks again be interested in Brown?
Well, if we take Carroll at his word, then probably not.
Recall that after Brown was released by the Patriots that Carroll was again asked about Brown and at that time gave about as strong of a declaration as the team might ever do about a possible personnel move, stating “we’re pretty well set right now. We kind of know where we are going with that.”
But a report this week indicated that at least one prominent Seahawk — actually, the most prominent one, quarterback Russell Wilson — would still like Seattle to try to get Brown.
The report came from veteran NFL writer John Clayton of 710 ESPN, who wrote in a story on the station’s website that “According to sources, Wilson would love to add Antonio Brown. Brown is also close with backup quarterback Geno Smith, whose one-year contract with the Seahawks was finalized Wednesday.”
Whether Carroll and Schneider would similarly “love to add” Brown is difficult to know, though Carroll’s comments in September would seem to indicate they might not — and nothing has really changed since then. As Pro Football Talk noted, it’s unclear when Brown would be available to play.
“Brown can’t play for anyone until a trio of pending Personal Conduct Policy investigations have concluded,” PFT wrote Friday. “From last September’s lawsuit alleging sexual assault and rape to alleged harassment of another female who made claims against him to SI.com to an incident with a moving-truck driver that resulted in an arrest and multiple charges, Brown could be facing a significant suspension before he’s permitted to play again.”
As Clayton wrote, this also isn’t something that would happen anytime soon. Clayton wrote it would be late July, when camp begins, at the earliest. Maybe by then the NFL will have a ruling on Brown’s status.
But maybe by then the Seahawks would have Josh Gordon back in the fold, if he has been reinstated by the league and is immediately eligible to play (also some big question marks there, but reports this week stated Gordon is going to apply and that he might get cleared).
If Seattle has Gordon, it probably don’t even think about Brown. But would they even think about Brown anyway?
Clayton, whose story is where this emanates, said Friday on 710 ESPN, “I give it a 5 percent chance. … the odds of it happening are very low.” And for what it’s worth, PFT also reported that Brown “repeatedly has been linked to the Ravens, where his cousin, receiver Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, plays.”
What I think we do know is that Wilson probably wants the Seahawks to pursue Brown. We know all about Wilson’s competitiveness, and Wilson has a relationship with Brown that dates to workouts the two had in 2016 as well as playing in a few Pro Bowls.
Wilson, who said in January that he wanted the team to add superstars, undoubtedly thinks he can help find a way to make it work for Brown in Seattle and no doubt is enamored with the undeniable talent of Brown, who caught four passes for 56 yards and a TD in his only game last season.
Recall that Wilson also reportedly urged the Seahawks to look into Brown in November before the Seahawks claimed Gordon, something he essentially confirmed during an appearance on ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown.”
“For the Seahawks, we are trying to win a Super Bowl,” Wilson said in November when asked about Brown and Gordon. “Trying to find every way to win. I think both of those guys, I’ve been around both of those guys. Both are tremendous talents, some of the best receivers, talent-wise, to ever play the game kind of talent. So any time you get an opportunity to play with a guy like that, you definitely want to.”
So yes, you can assume Wilson will likely tell Carroll and Schneider he’d love to have Brown if there’s a way for the Seahawks to make it work.
Making it work, though, could take a lot of work and a lot of time, assuming Carroll/Schneider would even want to go down that road.
As with those Russell Wilson Cleveland Browns jerseys, you can probably hold off putting a down payment on an Antonio Brown Seahawks jersey.