Remember Antonio Brown? He used to be a pretty good wide receiver. He played in one game a year ago, catching a touchdown pass from Tom Brady—the only touchdown pass he ever received from anybody other than the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger since he entered the NFL in 2010.
Brown is a street free agent after having been released multiple times last season, first by the Oakland Raiders and then by the New England Patriots, but he can’t currently be signed—or at least it would be prohibitive to do so—as he is serving an eight-game suspension. The punishment stems from a prior arrest earlier this year after he assaulted the driver of a moving truck who was transporting his belongings back from California in January.
As you might guess, that’s not the only issue he’s dealing with. He is still in the midst of a lawsuit stemming from a sexual harassment charge filed by a former acquaintance and trainer. Things are apparently not going as well as they could be, as one of his lawyers just walked off the case.
Citing “irreconcilable differences”, Carson Hancock withdrew from the case on the eve of a deadline in the trial at which point Brown was ordered by the judge to produce text messages and other evidence pertaining to the case filed by Britney Taylor, against whom he also has a countersuit.
What is interesting to note is that Hancock already has a history of representing Brown, having done so just recently this Summer during his trial for burglary and battery charges stemming from that January incident, to which he pleaded no contest.
I’m not exactly a legal expert, but it sounds like a not-so-great thing when a lawyer with whom you’ve worked successfully in the past decides to relieve himself of a later case, and to do so on the eve of a significant deadline in said case.
Brown’s off-field behavior has rendered him untouchable in some circles, and it’s not immediately clear if any team will actually go so far as to sign him to a contract when his suspension is served—assuming that the league doesn’t further discipline him for other off-field issues.
On the field, however, he was one of the most remarkable talents of the past decade. In nine seasons with the Steelers, he caught 837 passes for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns. If he had played just two more seasons, he would have surely broken Hines Ward’s team records in each category.
Brown, just a year after signing a major new extension, forced his way off the team early in 2019, with he and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, conspiring to work a trade to the Raiders. He proved to be a constant headache for the team to the point where they released him during training camp.
He actively worked to achieve his release there once he realized that they were not interested in complying with his behavior, and celebrated when he was granted it, later to sign with the Patriots. New England, however, released him after playing in one game following continued off-field issues and new allegations of harassment in addition to Taylor’s lawsuit.