The New England Patriots have kind of a weird ability to snatch up free-agent players for a variety of reasons — be it forcing their way off their previous team or being released, and so on.

So when the Pats landed Antonio Brown after he was cut by the Oakland Raiders, you can bet there were plenty of people who thought maybe there was something a little shady going on behind the scenes.

Among that company is Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice.

During an appearance on 95.7 “The Game,” Rice, who spent nearly his entire career in the Bay Area with the Raiders and San Francisco 49ers, said he thought this all was part of a master plan by Brown.

“We all got played,” Rice said, via CBS Sports. “He contacted me, he told me he wanted to play ball here in the Bay Area. I bought into it because I can only take a man at his word, but I think (signing with New England) was already planned.”

While that might be reaching a bit, you can’t blame Rice for feeling this way. Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, straight up told Brown in a call the receiver later released that he had connected the Steelers and Patriots back in March, but Pittsburgh eventually sent Brown to Oakland.

This might not be as dramatic as Mike Greenberg’s stance, but it’s probably not the last time we’ll hear a take like this.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images