09/08/2019 By Christopher Williams

Antonio Brown signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the New England Patriots on Saturday following his release from the Oakland Raiders. This deal comes after months of constant drama surrounded the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.

The Antonio Brown trade saga and off-the-field drama began last season while the 31-year-old was playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The wideout accumulated a total of three unexcused absences from team practices throughout the year and exchanged jabs with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on a number of occasions. Brown suited up for Pittsburgh for the last time in Week 16 against the New Orleans Saints. He did not play in the make-or-break matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 as a result of leaving a practice earlier in the week following a dispute with Roethlisberger.

Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders on March 9 in exchange for a third-round and fifth-round draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Raiders then signed Brown to a $50.125 million deal. However, the first team All-Pro wide receiver would never play a down in a Raiders uniform as drama continued to follow Brown to the Bay Area.

Antonio Brown arrived to a preseason practice on July 25 with frostbite on his feet after improperly covering his feet during a cryotherapy session earlier in the month. The injury kept him out of practice for the next two weeks as he seeked treatment. The receiver stated during this time away from football that he would not return if the NFL did not allow him to wear his desired helmet. Brown filed a grievance against the NFL due to this issue but it was denied.

Those were only the first few issues that surrounded the receiver in Oakland. After losing his grievance over his helmet dilemma, Brown skipped practices on August 18 and August 22 and was fined $40,000 and $13,950, respectively, for his unexcused absences by general manager Mike Mayock. 

In his final practice for the Raiders on September 4, Brown and Mayock confronted each other on the practice field and Brown was threatened with suspension. The team fined the wideout more than $215,000 in response to his conduct. This fine allowed the Raiders to void the $29.125 million was guaranteed to Brown in his contract. Brown then demanded Oakland to release him via an Instagram post. He was released from the Raiders at noon.

The New England Patriots signed Antonio Brown to a one-year contract four hours later with $10 million of the $15 million deal guaranteed to him. The star receiver will not play in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers since he was added to the roster after 4 p.m. on Saturday. Regardless of any drama surrounding him, there is no doubt that Brown will pose a threat to any defense alongside fellow receivers Josh Gordon and Julian Edleman. With six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady throwing him the ball, Brown boosts New England’s chances at winning yet another Super Bowl championship this season.

 

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