Antonio Brown Saga Ends with Patriots

By Michael Marciano
Sports Business Writer

Coach Jon Gruden must look elsewhere after his star player Antonio Brown practically quit his team to head for the New England Patriots (Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

On September 9, 2019 the highly skilled, yet highly controversial, wide receiver Antonio Brown was signed to a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. This signing comes after a long process which put the media in a stir. On March 13th, Brown was acquired by the Oakland Raiders- expected to earn $30.125 million over three seasons in the Bay area. Less than six months later, Brown is now a New England Patriot, signing a one-year deal for $15 million, a $9 million signing bonus, $10 million guaranteed and $5 million in incentives. The reason for Brown’s time as a Raider being cut so short is for his actions off the field, not on it – he never even saw the field in Oakland.

The “beginning of the end” of Brown’s tenure in Oakland started on July 30. Brown would show up to practice that day but leave early in protest of the NFL banning the use of the type of helmet he’s been used to wearing. For the entirety of his career, he has been wearing the “Schutt Air Advantage” helmet. However, on July 30 the NFL had banned the use of the Air Advantage for “safety concerns.” Brown exclaimed that he couldn’t use any other helmet as they restricted his visibility, which was obviously important to the all-pro receiver. Brown practiced sporadically with Oakland over the next month until September 4, when he would never wear a Raiders uniform again.

Brown posted a letter from Raiders GM, Mike Maycock, to his social media page. The letter detailed the fines he was to be served- which included a $40,000 fine from when Brown for an unexcused absence from practice, and a $13,950 fine for skipping a mandatory pre-game meeting. Brown tagged the Raiders under the post and commented “when your own team want to hate.” It was apparent at this time that Brown was not happy in Oakland and was speculated to maybe become suspended- which is exactly what occurred the next day.

On September 5, it was speculated by the media that Maycock and the Raiders would be suspending Brown for “conduct detrimental to the team.” At a press conference later that day, Maycock said “Antonio Brown’s not in the building today; he won’t be practicing today.” The next day, September 6, Brown returned to camp – to a swarm of reporters and media. Raiders coach John Gruden responded to the media by saying, “Antonio is back, we’re excited about that” and that the plan was to have Brown suit up for the season opener versus the Denver Broncos. That plan was short-lived. Later that day Brown posted a video to YouTube of a phone call between him and Coach Gruden, discussing his future as a member of the team.

The next day, September 7, Brown would be fined over $215,000 for “conduct detrimental towards the team” and is to lose the $29.125 million worth of guaranteed pay. Brown says there is “no way” he would play for the organization that just stripped him of almost $30 million of pay. At 4:01 p.m EST, Brown was a free agent, and by 5:19 p.m. EST Brown was a New England Patriot.

Week 2 was the first time Antonio Brown saw the field as a Patriot. Wearing the number 17 jersey, he pulled in a modest four catches, including a touchdown pass in the second quarter. This starts his new journey in the AFC East, an experiment that looks like it is headed in the right direction.


Contact Michael at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest