Stunner: Raiders announce release of Antonio Brown

Print
  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
More Columns >

And it's come to this.

The Raiders have released wide receiver Antonio Brown, the team announced Saturday morning.

Having traded the Steelers for Brown in the offseason, the former All-Pro receiver never played a down for the Raiders as he's been released just two days before the team's season opener.

Brown's whirlwind tenure with the Raiders took up much of the offseason, but ramped up over the last week in dizzying fashion and ultimately concluded Saturday with the star talent's fall from the team's roster.

"Told me do not come in Thursday," Brown told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. "Bad my name. Then come work, give two papers after the press conference. No guaranteed no way."

Brown later tweeted out: "The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth."

Following Raiders practice on Saturday, coach Jon Gruden addressed the media, looking to move on after an exhaustive ordeal.

"We just have exhausted everything," he began. "We tried every way possible to make it work. All I'm gonna say is, it's disappointing. I'm really proud of our players, our coaches, our owner, our front office. We did everything we could to make this work. I'm sorry it didn't. I apologize, but I will tell you I am very proud of what we did as an organization to try and I wish Antonio nothing but the best and I'm sorry that we never got a chance to see him in Silver and Black. Very disappointing in my career as a coach. I really looked forward to coaching him, but it's not gonna happen. I'm not gonna sit here and talk about it all day, we got 12 rookies, we got a lot to be excited about. I wish Antonio the very best.

"I was very hopeful about what he could bring here, unfortunately it's not gonna happen. I tell ya, he's a good guy. He's misunderstood by a lot of people, but he is a good guy. He's a great player and I hope he gets what he's looking for and I'm gonna close it with that. We've got a lot to be excited about, we build our team, unfortunately this has overshadowed a lot of great performances by young people who put themselves in position to start their career on Monday Night Football."

Brown, as he is not subject to waivers, is now a free agent who can sign with any team.

"Now that Antonio is a free agent, we are focused on the future and I will immediately work on signing him to a new team," Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus told Rapoport. "Antonio is looking forward to a new beginning."

The reasoning for the latest -- and last -- dispute reportedly came from Brown apologizing for his conduct on Wednesday during a confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock and then receiving a fine of more than $215,073 for the confrontation after issuing his apology. The fine was for conduct detrimental to the team, which would therefore allow the Raiders to void the guarantees in Brown's contract.

If controversy can be construed as hype, perhaps there would never have been a more hyped debut than Brown would have had with the Raiders upon the first Monday night that matters in the NFL season against the Broncos.

Obviously, that's no longer happening as the Raiders venture into their opener without Brown and coach Jon Gruden has already addressed his team about the development, Rapoport reported.

Sure, A.B. might have taken a balloon ride to Napa, California, but it's been a roller coaster ride off the rails to get to this Saturday.

It started before he became a Raider via trade and was still a disgruntled, blonde-mustached Steeler.

Since joining Oakland in March, he suffered from frostbitten feet and was missing from training camp practices.

Thereafter, Brown filed and lost two grievances with the NFL about having to wear a league-mandated helmet rather than one he had worn throughout his career.

Things began to approach the final stretch on Wednesday, however.

It began with Brown tweeting out a photo of a letter from Mayock for two fines due to him missing team activities. Brown expressed his displeasure in the Instagram message with super-imposed writing that read: "When your team want to hate but there's no stopping me now devil is a lie. Everyone got to pay this year so we clear."

Later that day, Brown had an altercation at practice with Mayock over the fines and had some harsh words for the GM. Brown's future for the team's opener and perhaps beyond came into question then.

However, following an apology to the team and then a brief statement of apology to the media on Friday, all signs were for A.B. to play Monday as was the "plan," according to Gruden.

That was Friday afternoon, though. Late Friday, Brown released a video on YouTube with what seemed to be a private conversation with Gruden.

Then came Saturday morning in which Brown used social media once more to vent his displeasure with an Instagram post that included, "Release me @raiders."

And that's what happened on a sleepy Saturday morning that turned into a stunning turn of events.

The Antonio Brown saga has presumably moved on from Oakland, but one would presume it's far from over.

Print