Ron Cook: Antonio Brown-to-Bucs talk was laughable from the start

Tribune Content Agency

Tom Brady might be the most prepared player in the NFL. He is a self-made man, who, through study and hard work, became the greatest quarterback of all time after coming into the league as a sixth-round draft choice.

Antonio Brown might have been the hardest-working player when he was in the NFL. He is a self-made man, who, through a relentless commitment to his craft, became the greatest wide receiver in Steelers history after coming into the league as a sixth-round draft choice.

TB and AB.

It’s understandable why Brady and Brown had a good relationship in their brief time together last season with the New England Patriots. They spent much of a week together with Brady schooling Brown on the Patriots offense. Their work paid off in 43-0 win against the Miami Dolphins with Brown catching a 20-yard touchdown pass.

It’s also understandable why Brady hated to see Brown released soon after that game after allegations of rape and sexual assault against Brown. Brady knew that no Brown and no Rob Gronkowski meant no real chance for another Patriots Super Bowl title.

It’s even understandable why Brady might have wanted to play with Brown again. Much speculation in the offseason had the two wanting to go to a team in a free-agent package deal. That’s hard to believe in many ways, but it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility.

If it is true and that really is what Brady and Brown wanted, Brady overlooked one significant, insurmountable hurdle.

Brown’s toxicity.

Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians was the latest to confirm Brown is poison. He spoke to CBS radio last week after the Buccaneers signed Brady and was asked if Brown was a consideration.

“It’s not going to happen,” Arians said. “There’s no room. It’s just not going to happen. It’s just a not a fit here.”

Arians wasn’t finished.

“No, I just know him and it’s not a fit in our locker room.”

Can you say kill shot?

“I just know him … ”

No one should be surprised.

Arians was the Steelers’ offensive coordinator during Brown’s first two seasons with the team. He was candid when asked by ESPN in January 2019 about the inexcusable way Brown quit on the Steelers late in the 2018 season.

“There’s too much miscommunication, too much … diva,” Arians said.

Brown felt the need to respond on Twitter.

Of course, he did.

“He didn’t draft me he drafted (Emmanuel Sanders) same guy who missed rehab to go on networks to talk about me on situation he have zero clue! Arians now wears kangoo hat n glasses but ima diva! Done seen it all.”

Pro Football Talk had it right in January when it wrote that Brown was burning bridges that hadn’t even been built yet.

How true.

Start with the Steelers. You know all about what happened to that bridge.

Go to the Oakland Raiders, whom the Steelers suckered into taking Brown in a trade for a third- and a fifth-round draft choice. Brown got into a beef with them over his helmet and threatened to punch general manager Mike Mayock during a practice because the team had the nerve to fine him for too often being a no-show at their facility. The Raiders quickly released Brown. That smell you might have detected was the Bay Bridge burning after collapsing into San Francisco Bay.

Move on to the Patriots. Brown didn’t offend Brady and perhaps even Bill Belichick, but he did take on team owner Robert Kraft on social media after the Patriots released him, emphasizing charges against Kraft of soliciting prostitution at a Florida massage parlor in February 2019. “Kraft got caught in the parlor AB speculations fired different strokes different folks clearly.”

While you’re at it, throw in the New Orleans Saints. They brought in Brown for a workout in December and asked him not to bring an entourage. Brown brought one, anyway, and accused Saints coach Sean Payton on Instagram of “a publicity stunt” when the team didn’t sign him. Imagine Brown’s agony when the Saints signed Sanders — a frequent Brown critic — to a two-year, $16 million free-agent contract earlier this month.

You ask me, Brown is running out of teams and bridges.

Brown has been surprisingly quiet on social media for a few weeks and has been conciliatory in interviews, including one with 93.7 The Fan. He even sent an apology message to Ben Roethlisberger, saying he “got caught up in my emotion.” I know, I couldn’t believe it, either.

It’s too late for Brown with Roethlisberger, for sure.

It’s almost certainly too late for Brown with the NFL.

The league is in no hurry to finish its investigation into the many facets of Brown’s abhorrent behavior, including the allegations of rape and assault, the video in January of him screaming obscenities at the mother of three of his children with the kids watching and his arrest later in January on charges of allegedly assaulting the driver of a moving truck.

No team is going to sign Brown until it knows what sort of suspension he is facing.

Take that one step further.

No team is going to sign Brown, period.


©2020 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.