All-World Talent Aside, Seahawks Should Avoid Antonio Brown Like the Plague
Over the past decade, few receivers have been as productive as Antonio Brown, a former sixth-round pick turned superstar who has amassed 841 receptions, 11,263 yards, and 75 touchdowns since entering the league in 2010.
In each of those metrics, he ranks second in the NFL during the past 10 years. He led the league in receptions two separate seasons, posting 129 and 136 receptions in 2014 and 2015 respectively, while also leading the league in receiving yardage twice. For six straight years from 2013 to 2018, he posted at least 100 receptions, 1,200 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns, earning First-Team All-Pro distinction four times.
On the field, it's hard not to argue Brown belongs in the discussion with the best receivers to ever suit up in any era. From a football perspective, his consistency, reliability, and durability put him in rarified air amongst his peers.
Talented players get unlimited chances in the NFL, so it shouldn't be a surprise the Seahawks have been rumored with interest in signing the embattled receiver, especially since the team looked into signing him last season. Quarterback Russell Wilson understandably wants as much firepower around him as possible and pairing Brown with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf would be a scary proposition for opponents. Defensive coordinators wouldn't be able to sleep at night during the week of preparation.
Backing up earlier reports this offseason from ESPN 710 reporter John Clayton and Mike Silver of NFL Network, ESPN's Adam Schefter indicated the Seahawks are expected to make a push to sign Brown when his eight-game suspension ends in a couple of weeks.
Coach Pete Carroll didn't necessarily squash this rumor on Wednesday, either. As expected, he indicated with plenty of coach speak that general manager John Schneider and the Seahawks won't leave a stone unturned, especially for a Hall of Fame caliber player like Brown.
“The thing I can tell you about it, competitively, [Schneider] is in on everything," Carroll said. "He knows everybody in the league, he knows what’s going on, he’s kept us involved and has made marvelous moves over the years. We’ll see how this one — you know, we’re there, we’re in it, and we know what’s happening. It isn’t settled yet and we don’t know where it is going to go but we’re always on the ready to compete to get guys and so this is one of those chances and we’ll see what happens.”
But regardless of his elite talent, Brown has been anything but a Hall of Famer off the field, creating headaches everywhere he goes. If the Seahawks have paid any attention, they should stay as far away as possible from a player who has yellow caution tape and "DO NOT ENTER" signs surrounding him.
Since entering the league in 2010 out of Central Michigan, Brown hasn't been a stranger when it comes to causing problems and his issues have only escalated in severity in recent years.
In January 2017 after the Steelers beat the Dolphins in a playoff game, Brown broadcasted the team's locker room celebration on Facebook Live and was reprimanded by coach Mike Tomlin. This was just one of several incidents that soured the receiver's relationship with the organization and led to him eventually being traded.
Then in April 2018, Brown threw furniture out of a 14th floor window, nearly hitting a 22-month old child and leading to an eventual lawsuit. He was also cited that year for going 100 miles per hour on a suburban highway.
This was just the tip of the iceberg for Brown in regard to his legal woes and his behavior continued to spiral out of control.
Shortly after the Steelers traded Brown to the Raiders in March 2019 - quite an impressive statement on its own accord because the organization ate more than $20 million in dead cap to dump him - he immediately went to work ruffling feathers with his new team.
With his preferred helmet model being banned by the NFL for safety reasons, he threatened to retire before filing a grievance that was ultimately denied by an arbitrator. He missed 10 out of 11 training camp practices due to frostbite on his feet from not wearing proper footwear during cryotherapy and drew fines from general manager Mike Mayock for unexcused absences, drawing the ire of the mercurial Brown.
Once the Raiders voided guarantees on his contract, Brown demanded a release and the organization obliged, paving the way for him to sign with the Patriots less than 24 hours later. His stint in Foxboro would prove to be a brief one, however, as multiple sexual assault allegations came to light.
Most notably, Brown's former trainer Brittney Taylor sued him for sexually assault, claiming he exposed himself to her, ejaculated on her back, and ultimately raped her. The player and his representatives immediately denied the charges and the case remains under investigation.
With further allegations levied against him, including a second accusation of sexual misconduct and a lawsuit from a former Pittsburgh doctor for unpaid fees, the Patriots had no choice but to release Brown on September 20. He played one game with the team, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Dealing with multiple pending cases, Brown became untouchable around the league and didn't play in another game in 2019. But being unemployed didn't stop him from digging himself into an even bigger hole to try and crawl out of.
Earlier this year, Brown and an accomplice attacked a moving truck driver at his home in Hollywood, Florida, and an arrest warrant was filed for felony battery and burglary charges. He eventually turned himself in and plead no contest in June, receiving two years of probation along with 100 hours of community service, 13 weeks of anger management, and a psychological evaluation.
Through it all, whether committing a minor infraction like speeding or something far more deplorable like being accused of sexual assault, Brown has consistently given empty apologies, failing to learn from his countless mishaps or show remorse for his destructive behavior.
If there's one thing in particular that paints a vivid picture about Brown's character, it's that the Hollywood Police Department issued a trespass warning against him to prevent him from being involved with the community's PAL youth football program. The last straw that led to that intervention? Calling officers a "bag of d--cks," he waved penis-shaped gummies at cops after they arrived to address an altercation with his ex-girlfriend back in January.
Does that sound like the kind of individual the Seahawks should have interest in bringing into the fold? Or any other team for that matter? Absolutely not.
There's no question Brown could add another dimension to Seattle's already explosive passing game. There's no question Wilson could take his game to another level with one of the best receivers of this generation at his disposal. There's no question coach Carroll has created a culture that embraces individuality and allows strong personalities to flourish. If there's a place that could make this arrangement work, it's probably in the Pacific Northwest.
But based on his checkered past, there's also no question Brown would have issues with how much the football went his direction in a run-first offense. There's also no question he has the toxic disposition necessary to fracture, divide, and destroy any locker room, even one as unified as the Seahawks.
And most importantly? Seattle simply does not need him. Metcalf has blossomed into a superstar in his second season with 496 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Lockett has once again been dynamic and has four scores of his own, while David Moore has emerged as a viable third receiver with 173 yards and two touchdowns. Oh, and Phillip Dorsett could be back in the very near future from injured reserve.
Considering there's still an open case being investigated by the NFL and another suspension could be looming on top of mounting evidence illustrating his deviance, the only internal discussion Seattle's front office should be having is promising one another they won't entertain the idea of signing Brown once he's eligible to play again next month.