Slapped with 8-Game Suspension, Will Seahawks Still Have Interest in Antonio Brown?
As has been anticipated for several months, the NFL has officially suspended troubled - and apparently unretired - receiver Antonio Brown for multiple violations of the league's personal conduct policy.
According to Robert Klemko of the Washington Post, Brown will be required to serve an eight-game suspension starting in Week 1, regardless of whether a team has signed him by that point or not. The former All-Pro recently pleaded no contest to battery charges stemming from an incident with a moving truck driver earlier this year and received a lengthy probation sentence.
Last week, Brown demanded the NFL provide clarity on his case on Instagram to help him latch on with a team. This came only a few days after he announced his apparent retirement from football on Twitter, further illustrating his erratic off-field behavior leaks into his social media persona.
Under the terms of his current suspension, Brown would be eligible to sign with a team after Week 8 and immediately be eligible to play. But an ongoing sexual misconduct civil suit levied by his former trainer has yet to be settled and a hearing is scheduled on September 15, opening the door for further punishment.
After being traded to the Raiders in March 2019, Brown filed a grievance about not being able to wear his preferred helmet of choice and briefly threatened to retire. He then missed 10 out of 11 training camp practices with frostbite on his feet and had guarantees on his contract voided, leading him to demand his release.
Mayock eventually obliged and Brown quickly latched on with the Patriots, but his stay would be a brief one. He played in Week 2, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, before being released due to a litany of legal charges against him.
The 32-year old Brown hasn't played a down since, as teams have avoided signing him with multiple pending cases against him and a looming suspension coming from the league. But that hasn't stopped rumors about interested teams looking at him this offseason, with the Seahawks being linked to him multiple times.
Back in May, John Clayton of ESPN 710 reported quarterback Russell Wilson wanted the team to pursue Brown. A later report from Michael Silver of NFL Network put more gas on the flame, saying the organization has had "internal discussions" about signing him in the future.
Then in late June, Brown posted a video on social media doing a workout, further ramping up speculation about him potentially joining the Seahawks.
From a talent perspective, it's easy to see why Wilson would want to play with Brown, who has amassed 841 receptions, 11,263 yards, and 75 touchdowns since entering the league as a sixth-round pick in 2010. He's a four-time First-Team All-Pro, has led the league in receptions and receiving yards twice, and at one point, he posted at least 100 receptions, 1,200 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns in six straight seasons.
Historically, few receivers have put up more prolific numbers over an extended period of time and at least on the field, he's been reliable, durable, and consistent throughout his illustrious career. Putting him on the same offense with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett would create nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators.
But with his ban from the league finally revealed, Brown wouldn't be eligible to play for the Seahawks until Week 9 against the Bills at the earliest. And considering he's not out of the woods yet with his legal woes and faces severe allegations from his former trainer, there's a good chance that suspension will ultimately last beyond November 8.
At this point, it seems far more likely Seattle will re-sign Gordon, who applied for reinstatement last month and could learn his fate as early as next week. After playing in five games with the team last year, he already knows the offensive system, left a strong impression on Pete Carroll and the coaching staff, and should be affordable to re-sign as a third target behind Lockett and Metcalf.
While Brown could remain on Seattle's radar as a late addition once he's eligible to return and an injury during the season would change things, this latest news should all but end consideration for bringing him to the Pacific Northwest. If he receives more extensive punishment down the road, his career could also be in jeopardy.