It’s been over a year since the Raiders made a blockbuster trade for Antonio Brown. While he never actually played a game for the team, it’s hard not to imagine what could’ve been. He was supposed to be the centerpiece of the offense, but he let drama get in the way of that and he only ended up playing one game all season.
The incident that sealed his fate with the team was when he got in a heated altercation with general manager Mike Mayock in front of the team. Players for the Raiders have stayed pretty quiet about the incident, but defensive end Clelin Ferrell decided to give some insight about the fight.
“I was just kind of thrown off by it,” Ferrell said on ESPN’s First Take. “Obviously, you see the stuff in the media but when Antonio was in the locker room, he was the chillest dude. I had never really seen that side of either of them, so I was just kind of caught off guard, and was like, ‘Woah! What’s going on here?’ They had a really good relationship. Obviously, the three of them — Antonio, Mike and coach Gruden — they always had a good relationship. I was just kind of caught off guard, but grown men gonna be grown men and have disputes sometimes.”
By many accounts, Brown was a fine teammate most of the time, but he wasn’t shy about getting upset. When he didn’t get his way, he was a one-man wrecking crew and Mayock learned that really fast.
Ferrell Laments Losing AB Before the Season
When the Raiders released Brown shortly before the season started, they lost their best playmaker. It became abundantly clear halfway through the season that the team lacked fire power. If Brown hadn’t forced his way out, the team could have been in the playoffs. Ferrell lamented the fact that they lost the star wide receiver.
“When you feel like you got Antonio Brown at his best, the sky would have been the limit for us offensively,” Ferrell said. “Just been a guy who is top five in receiving yards and touchdowns every single year. Would have did his thing. When all the different stuff happened with everything going on, that was tough on us. As a team, we just want to be quiet.
“Especially with ‘Hard Knocks,’ there was already so much attention and to have all this other stuff added in, it was kind of tough on us. But I feel like, at the end of the day, we just want the best for him because he did go through a lot, so no matter the disarray or dysfunction he has caused, you just want to see him get back to who he was.”
Ferrell took the high road and didn’t try to kick Brown while he’s down. Considering how much drama he brought the team, it’s a surprise the Raiders didn’t start off last season worse. Now that they won’t have his distraction, they could get off to a hotter start in 2020.
Will Brown Play in 2020?
If Brown never plays another NFL game, it will be one of the biggest self-destructions in the history of the league. He was on pace to get into the top-five of a number of all-time receiving stats and would’ve been a lock for the Hall of Fame. He’ll be 32 when the season starts and it remains to be seen if any team will want to take a chance on him.
The New Orleans Saints gave the wide receiver a shot during last season, but he once again sabotaged himself by bringing a camera crew to the workout when they asked him not to. While he’s taken a lot of steps to hold himself accountable for his mistakes, it’s doubtful a team takes a chance on him unless they are desperate. If he’s going to land on a roster, it will be during the season.