As of Tuesday, the day this surprise, unusually well written and grammatically correct, semi-coloned apology to Mr. Kraft on Antonio Brown’s Instagram, I was as puzzled by it as anyone:
It seemed really bizarre – even by the lofty standards of a guy who was The Masked Singer, quit on two consecutive teams, froze his feet and calls himself Mr. Big Chest – especially given that the Patriots withheld his $5 million bonus money and he took shots at Mr. Kraft for patronizing the Asian hand arts. I don’t know what it all meant exactly. But when something is that carefully worded, it doesn’t mean nothing.
In the aftermath it was pointed out that Brown’s post was liked by several of his former teammates, including but not limited to: Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, James White, Stephon Gilmore, Brandon Bolden and Phillip Dorsett.
Which, while interesting, might not mean anything more than in the 11 days between Brown’s arrival and him setting fire to his career, the other players liked him and they appreciate his sentiments.
And then …
I’ll confess I’m not familiar with the work of this Twitter account. And anyone can say anything. So as a general rule you shouldn’t chase rumors on the internets because that way lies madness. But still, it’s my sworn duty to report something when the account has 134,000 followers:
Which makes sense. A man of Mr. Kraft’s stature punches up, not down. When he expects an apology, he demands it of a powerful entity like the NFL, not some mercurial wideout. But you can totally reasonable to imagine where his son and the VP of the team would reach out and say, “Look, we’re willing to take your guy back. But he can’t be disrespecting the man who’s name is on the front of the paychecks around here. Have him issue an apology and we can begin the process of making this right again.
For a more credible source than a Twitter rumor, there’s this:
Source – “There’s optimism on Brown’s part that things went well enough last Thursday that he could be reinstated by the end of the season,” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio said Wednesday on The Greg Hill Show. “The prevailing view had been the NFL was going to kick the can through the end of the season, let him play next year. If they decide to suspend him, maybe give him credit for time served because for a practical matter he’s been suspended without pay for nine weeks because no one will touch him while this league investigation is pending. But, there is some optimism that he will have a chance to get back in.”
So most of this optimism seems to be coming from Brown’s cabinet, whose Chief of Staff is, of course, Drew Rosenhaus. They’re putting it out there that the eight hour meeting they had with the NFL went well. Just to connect dots here, that would be the Drew Rosenhaus who has had a very cordial business relationship with, among other Krafts, Jonathan.
Florio went on to explain a lot of other details about Brown’s lawsuit situation on PFT, most of it lawyerspeak that goes right over my state college educated brain. But it comes down to Brown counter-suing his accuser and something about how he signed an agreement he wouldn’t talk about the case, which has made it hard for him to defend himself.
Brown mentions for the first time that he “executed a confidentiality agreement under duress.” He claims that the confidentiality agreement “precludes him from discussing a number of relevant events …which he deems essential to the Court’s understanding of his defense and the counterclaims asserted herein,” Brown explains.
All of which indicates what, exactly? I guess it means his attorneys think he’d have won the case by now if he could just talk about it? I’m no lawyer, but given how well Brown has done expressing in the past in 20 minute Facebook Lives from the Steelers locker room and IG videos from inside TB12 Fitness, I’d say letting him plead his case is a bold strategy. But I’m just an aging fanboy. They’re the ones with the retainers and billable hours. That’s their call, not mine.
My call is that, if the Patriots and Antonio Brown are clearing the public relations minefield for a frontal assault on the rest of the football season, I’m on board. I’ve never been a fan of the guy. I’ve always resented him for texting his other accuser with veiled threats and pictures of her kids a thousand times more than I resent the Kraft’s for releasing him. And I will never trust he won’t go off the rails yet again. With either some other off the field thing or just his default setting of bitching about his touches, making a scene every time he thinks he was open but didn’t get the ball and just generally being a selfish dink.
But at this point, I’ll take him. For practical, purely football reasons.
I disagree with those who say the offense is broken. It’s running, but it definitely needs some work. A tune up, an alignment and some transmission work at the very least. Mohamed Sanu (ankle) and Phillip Dorsett (concussion) didn’t practice yesterday. Julian Edelman was limited. Their only fully healthy wideouts were rookies, one of whom is a UDFA who ran a post when he should’ve run a fade on Sunday and the other who’s a 1st round pick but with a total of 21 passing downs under his belt so far. So yeah, Brown will solve a lot of those problems. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and all that.
There’s a long way to go in this process. And I’ll be first to acknowledge it’s not even close to being out of the rumor stage. Not only has a credible report not been born yet, it’s barely in the amniotic sac. But it definitely feels like something is in motion here. And if it starts down the birth canal, it’ll be life-changing. Stay tuned.