Regarding Antonio Brown, upon further review I will pass

Jim Hackett
September 12, 2019 - 7:41 am
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Well then, it’s been an interesting week.

One hell of timeline.

Last Wednesday evening I drafted the fifth of my six fantasy football teams. That’s the team that Antonio Brown (then a Raider) landed on. In the third round with the 23rd pick I scooped up arguably the best receiver in football. This is my work league and I left feeling strong about my team. AB would be just another chess piece in what’s looking like a fully loaded roster.

By Thursday midday, a coworker in the league attempted to break my balls dropping the news of a potential suspension coming AB’s way. While not trying to foreshadow, I actually said, "It’s Thursday, a lot can happen before Monday night." Whoa! Nailed that one, even if by accident (which it was).

I’ve been racking my brain seeking a relevant parallel but the saga of AB over just this last week truly stands alone. 

Thursday, Sept. 5: AB is rumored to be suspended. Friday evening, Sept. 6: Raiders head coach Jon Gruden seemingly overrides Mike Mayock, rendering him powerless while presumably getting his best player back on the field for its first game on Monday night. Saturday morning: Brown is released from Oakland. Saturday afternoon: Brown is a Patriot. 

As it turns out, all of this was just the drama before the drama.

Saturday I was at a charitable fundraising event for my best friend Doc who passed away far too early two years ago last month. A lifelong diehard Pats fan, I’d love to know what he would have thought about all this. Anyway, at the event around 5 p.m. or so the announcement was made that AB was signing with the Patriots. The mood and energy in the room can best be described as confusingly and bewilderedly optimistic. Head-turning or jaw-dropping would be another, but the intrigue was high. Giddiness was setting in for many. 

Am I surprised the Patriots landed AB? No.

The Patriots and Bill Belichick, in particular, are the ultimate opportunists and a reasonably affordable and suddenly available. Brown certainly presents opportunity. Was I surprised that they signed him Saturday night though? A little bit, only because I just didn’t think they needed him, particularly given all the recent drama and noise surrounding his whole act. Sunday’s massacre of the Pittsburgh Steelers in front of the nation was proof enough of that. Following that win, however, the thought of adding Brown to the mix started to become quite tantalizing. You may have heard me gushing at the potential of it all on Sunday morning during the Fantasy Football Hour right here on WEEI and that was before the game was played. By Monday morning, I was preaching to co-workers on the fence that they should just sit back and enjoy their new toy.

Fast forward to Tuesday night when the most recent news and allegations broke and the drama that followed throughout the day Wednesday and I’ve got to say, things have changed for me. The severity of the allegations true or false cause one to pause. Everybody in this great country is innocent until proven guilty and nobody should forget that. I haven’t. However, I’ve smelled enough smoke around this guy of late to make me want to hard pass on inhaling any more of his toxic fumes. The Patriots are great enough already, their fire is ablaze and without Brown there’s far less of that nasty smoke choking the teams’ collective lungs.

Having Brown on this already improved, Super Bowl-winning roster felt a little gluttonous before the allegations. I found my peace with said gluttony and could see the end game quite clearly, but it still was what it was. Add in the latest news and now it feels far more dangerous than gluttonous. Now it feels like staying out with your friends for one too many drinks after you know you have already had a great night and probably been served enough. For the Patriots and their latest toy, I think it’s time to call an Uber. 

It was an interesting, intriguing and yeah, tantalizing couple of days, but that intrigue ended rather abruptly on Wednesday when the conversation and the allegations of sexual assault and rape became far more serious. I’m not saying he’s guilty and I hope he’s not for everyone’s sake. But for me, I’ve got to be honest: the music has started to die. Sweet as it was for a couple of days. The noise that surrounds AB off the field seems far more powerful than that sweet music made on the field and that’s the rub for me.

Time to call that Uber. Destination, Logan Airport. I’m quite fine watching Brown go play somewhere else and more than fine watching this already stacked championship Patriots roster plow through the AFC without the unnecessary drama. Incidentally, I’ve already picked up Phillip Dorsett in a couple of my leagues just in case. I guess there is no drama with him unless you consider two touchdowns on Sunday Night Football dramatic like I do.