At 34 and perennially courting controversy, is Antonio Brown’s NFL career over?

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Is Antonio Brown’s NFL career over?

If Jekyll and Hyde ever manifested in real life, they would probably take Antonio Brown's form. A sensation on the field, his off-the-field antics leave a lot to be desired. He has not played for an NFL team this season, and it is hard not to see why.

To recap how we got here, Antonio Brown was riding high during his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He won the Super Bowl at the conclusion of the 2020 NFL season and looked good in 2021.

However, as it invariably happens to him, something enraged him in their final regular season game against the New York Jets. He took off his playing gear, seething at the perceived injustice, and left the field during the game. He has not been back in the NFL since.

Now, he is sitting outside looking in with no clear path back.

For most players manifesting such a demeanor, we would not even be discussing if they had a path back into the NFL. But Antonio Brown has been here before. Through numerous controversies, needy NFL teams have humored his worst instincts just so they could succeed on the field. It certainly paid off for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after they brought him back in from the cold.

Antonio Brown was cut by the New England Patriots in 2019 and briefly flirted with retirement with no team wanting to take a chance on him. But the Buccaneers and their new quarterback, Tom Brady, thought of giving him another opportunity. Signing the seven-time Pro Bowler certainly worked out well for them as he was an integral cog in their Super Bowl win.

But is it something another team might think of doing? Would someone needing wide receivers like the Los Angeles Rams want to take a chance on Antonio Brown? It is tough to see that happening for a variety of reasons.

The first, of course, is that one can understand giving someone a chance after egregious behavior if one can see the person improving their conduct. There has been no indication of anything of that sort and there is more on that later.

Secondly, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took him, he was still in his prime. He is now 34 and by his own admission was nursing injuries in his final playing season. Based on both these factors, it is tough to see him returning to the NFL fold.

Antonio Brown's latest controversies

Antonio Brown seems to be a walking and talking human controversy magnet. His portfolio of misdemeanors would never have been disregarded if he was not as talented on the field.

His list of controversies is long. He threw furniture out of his room, nearly injuring a child below. He was caught speeding. He has been accused of sexual harassment. He pleaded no contest to burglary and felony battery charges resulting in probation and community service. This ought to have been sufficient to end his NFL career, but it did not.

What might end it, though, is his latest mishap. He was recently caught exposing himself sexually at a Dubai hotel. That in itself might not be enough as the NFL has still given him chances despite previous sexual harassment charges. But what might just end it for him is his continuous broadsides at Tom Brady.

Tom Brady gave Antonio Brown a way back into the league. However, Brown has shown his callousness by going after Brady and his ex-wife Gisele Bundchen, posting vulgar remarks about their marital problems.


Whether Brown has finally crossed the threshold of return remains to be seen as he is still young enough to perform as a player. However, his continuous antics certainly push him all the further away from an NFL comeback.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann