And so here is the latest. A day after the Patriots were rumored to be in talks about reinstating Antonio Brown and Christian Fauria was reporting they were "kicking the tires" on him,
... team sources are letting it be known, anonymously, to anyone who asks that they are aren't going to take AB for a test drive, much less let the salesman go talk to his manager and start drawing up the paperwork.
That, apparently, is where we stand. You can look at the dots of Brown having a meeting with the NFL, Brown Instagramming a suspiciously grammatically correct apology to Mr. Kraft, a bunch of Patriots players liking the post, reports that Jonathan Kraft was behind the apology and Brown's attorneys filing a counterclaim against his accuser and you can connect them any way you like. The way the ancient Greeks looked at a half dozen stars and saw a picture of a virgin (nights Ancient Greece must have been lonely), you can see what you want to see. But to me it looked very much like the Pats have interest in bringing Brown back for a championship run.
But their unnamed sources are telling the beat writers anonymously that they don't. That doesn't make it definite. It's not like they've issued a press release or Belichick declared it at the podium. There's the very real possibility that the Pats are handling this quietly in-house, getting all their ducks in a row and assurances from Mr. Big Chest and Drew Rosenhaus that he's going to straighten up and fly right. (At least until February 3rd, after which he can go nuts for all they care.) And then they'll make a formal announcement during the holidays next week in order to contain the fallout. It would mean they've lied to their beat writers, but it's not like you go to hell for that. Nor would it be the first time. And when you do it anonymously, when asked about it you can always do the "What? We never said any such thing. I don't know what you're talking about" thing.
If I had to guess, and I do, I'd say it's unlikely they bring AB back, but by no means have they ruled it out. The moral line you draw when someone stupidly texts a woman pictures of her kids in a vague threat to expose her as a golddigger or whatever, gets blurrier with time. And with massive amounts of uncertainty at the wide receiver position.
The other day their only practicing wideouts were two rookies and a No. 10 no one could identify who turns out to be the immortal Quincy Adeboyejo, ready to take his place among past unforgettable No. 10 legends such as Tiquan Underwood and Devin Lucien. So if the prognosis isn't good on Mohamed Sanu's high ankle sprain (did not participate in practice) and Phillip Dorsett's concussion (did participate), I could very much see them cover that moral line with dirt and bring him back. Just for pragmatic reasons. So just for old time's sake I'll say that while I think it's still possible they'll bring him back, at this point it's more probable than not they won't.