Antonio Brown Working Out with Russell Wilson Isn't Cause for Concern... Yet
Whether you're a fan of him joining the team or not, the Antonio Brown to the Seahawks chatter just won't stop. After the former All-Pro receiver shared a video of him working out with Russell Wilson and Geno Smith on Wednesday, the rumor mill kicked into overdrive on social media.
Then on Thursday, NFL Network analyst Mike Garafolo reported a source within Brown's camp says the ex-Steelers star wants to be a Seahawk. Everything seems to be lining up.
There aren't many players as polarizing as Brown. After talking his way out of Pittsburgh and refusing a trade to the Buffalo, Brown landed with the Oakland Raiders. What occurred next could only be described as a train wreck as Brown threatened to retire over a helmet rule, called out the Raiders in the media, released recordings of private conversations, and was out of town before Week 1 of the regular season.
He eventually landed with the New England Patriots, only to be cut after just one game when two allegations of sexual assault and one allegation of rape came to light on the same weekend. Since then, Brown hasn't played in an NFL game and also hasn't stayed out of trouble.
In late January, Brown was charged with a misdemeanor battery. On April 4, he was charged with felony burglary conveyance, misdemeanor battery, and misdemeanor criminal mischief charges. Brown also live-streamed an aggressive confrontation with the police. To say the past year has been a mess is an understatement.
There is no question Brown is still talented and Wilson has lobbied Seattle to give him a shot. It was reported on June 23 that the Seahawks were having internal conversations about Brown and with the video being released, the fire is roaring larger than ever.
In addition, the Seahawks have never had issues taking on "problem players" before. From the early years with Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin, to selecting Frank Clark, up to the Josh Gordon experience, taking risk is a part of what the Seahawks do. So with all these factors, it seems fair to assume that this video is a strong indication of the Seahawks' intent, right? Not so fast.
This isn't the first time Wilson and Brown have worked out together during the offseason. They've been friends for a long time and Seattle's star quarterback has been pictured with him previously. Them being together doesn't mean becoming teammates is inevitable.
In addition, Brown is still facing a suspension from the NFL following his sexual misconduct allegations. Since he wasn't on an active roster and the investigation is still ongoing, he will have to serve a suspension before he can step on the field.
It is also important to remember that while no criminal charges will be filed against Brown for these allegations, the NFL doesn't require the same burden of proof as to the court system. The league is the jury, so they need only to convince themselves that misconduct was conducted by the player. And with the seriousness and seeming credibility of the allegations, Brown will almost certainly be suspended for a substantial time.
On top of the suspension, Brown's diva tactics could be an issue with the Seahawks' balanced offense. The team would be inviting a lot of public relations headaches to acquire a player who would only play a partial season and average just a handful of targets per game. The Seahawks already have an outstanding receiver tandem and taking away targets from DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett may not be a net gain for Seattle.
In addition, Brown hasn't played a game in nearly a year. Do we think Brown is still the same player he was two years ago? It's possible, but also not likely. Brown is now in his 30s after all.
So while the video certainly adds another layer to this polarizing story, it is far from conclusive that the Seahawks are interested in Brown. Wilson wants him and reports suggest the team has discussed bringing him in, but that is all that is known.
For Seattle, signing Brown would be like purchasing a used sports car with an insane insurance rate attached to it. It may seem fun, but the headaches from the insurance (PR) and the concern of when the engine (Brown) will finally blow up just make this a risk that may be too big for the Seahawks front office to ignore.