The crazy twisting timeline of the Antonio Brown saga


Joe Maher: Official Antionio Brown timeline. Graphic by Kwesi Blankson.

Joe Maher, Photo Editor

Antonio Brown. What the hell just happened? One of the craziest, most asinine, jaw-dropping sports stories to take place over the past year has to be this saga. Every single time I thought this story was over, a new team got involved or Antonio Brown (AB) tweeted again. If I’m being honest, I used to be on his side. Way back when he was “just” trying to get to get traded to a team that he believed would appreciate him more and would not place him under investigation for sexual assault. For those of you unfamiliar with this, or for those of you who just want a refresher on everything that happened, here is the Joe Maher Official Antonio Brown Timeline. I originally wanted to call it the Antonio Brown Doomsday Clock, but I do not think we will ever hit midnight. Brown will be in the news forever.

Anyway, AB’s career started off fantastically. He was consistently one of the best wide receivers in the league. From 2010 to 2018 he was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times and he led the league in yards in both 2014 and 2017. He was a dream pick for fantasy football owners everywhere. We now know that throughout these glorious years he already had issues with teammates, but nothing was really made public or was as big of a deal as what happened last season.

The second stop of our AB Timeline is where the drama truly starts. The month is December, the year 2018, the week is 17. Antonio Brown and the Steelers have one game left in the season when the Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown get into a heated argument that results in Brown getting so mad that he skips practices for the rest of the week leading up to the game. Side note: I hate the Steelers and this was terrible for them, so at this point I was on Brown’s side. The team benched him, because you are not allowed to just skip practices. The Steelers won the game, but ended up missing the playoffs. AB was NOT happy.

Stop three is Brown requesting (demanding) a trade and telling the Steelers that it was time to move on. The Steelers were more than willing to trade AB away because of his commitment issues and the drama that had been surrounding him.

Stop three and a half is the culmination of this trade request (demand). Teams in the league were hesitant to sign Brown. They didn’t know how much to give up because Antonio was not a safe bet. However, the Raiders showed interest and traded a measly third and fifth round pick to get him. Everything seemed to have worked out in Brown’s favor and this saga was looking like it would end. Boy were we wrong.

Stop four. Brown has been on the team for a matter of weeks when the newest issue arises. His helmet. The NFL passed a new rule dictating new safety measures that helmets needed to have and AB’s old helmet did not make the cut. He was so angry that he threatened to never play football again. This issue lasted months. From before summer until training camp in late July. He sat out from practices and pre-season games because of this. The Raiders fined him for missing mandatory events and this just angered him even more. He spoke out on Twitter and repeated that he did not need football.

Stop five. This one is weird. Even through all of this, hopes were high that he would play during the first week of the regular season. There were reports that Brown would be suspended by the team for that game, but they were quickly debunked. Then 12 hours later Brown posted a video to YouTube of a call between him and his coach that was about him being more than football and being a human. The video was confusing. It seemed like it was a dig at the NFL for treating him like a commodity, but also a hype video that made him seem like he was ready to play. Puzzling. His intentions became more clear when another 12 hours later he told the Raiders to release him via Instagram.

Stop six. Big surprise here: The Raiders released him. His contract was voided due to him missing team events and he was officially an unrestricted free agent. He could sign to any team. A few hours later he was a member of the New England Patriots, the team that had just won the super bowl, had one of the best quarterbacks of all time and was going to play the Steelers on the first week. Brown did not play in that first game, but it was still a small slap in the face to Pittsburgh.

Stop seven. Here is where any liking or sympathy for AB left me. Sexual assault allegations were laid on him from an old physical trainer. She claimed that Brown had sexually assaulted her three times and in one of the instances, he raped her. The Patriots said that they were taking the claims seriously and the NFL launched an investigation into the matter. Brown played in week two and scored a touchdown as a member of the Patriots. This would be his only touchdown as a member of the New England team.

Stop Seven. The Patriots cut Antonio Brown. The drama and lawsuit surrounding him was too much for the team to handle. This was evident when earlier that day the Patriots head coach walked out of a press conference after being asked about Brown and his sexual assault allegations too many times.

Stop Eight. The current spot where Antonio Brown lays. Brown is a free agent again. Any team could sign him, but it has become clear that no one is willing to put up with his antics or deal with the aftermath of his sexual assault lawsuit. But this is not where the story ends. On September 22, the morning of the day I am writing this, AB tweeted his reactions to all of this. He called out his old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, because he was accused of rape, he called out NFL talk show host Shannon Sharpe because he was accused of sexual harassment and he called out the owner of the Patriots Robert Kraft because he had been caught in a massage parlor that employed prostitutes. He also told the world that he would no longer play in the NFL, as if it were actually his decision.

That is all for now on the Joe Maher Official Antonio Brown Timeline. I know this story will never end and Antonio Brown will continue to make headlines. There is a small part of me that wants to see what would happen if he signed another contract, what new drama awaits, but most of me wants to see this end. I believe that he could have been a hall of famer, but not anymore. What a story.