It’s nearly impossible to get a read on Antonio Brown these days.
Between the NFL’s investigation into troubling sexual misconduct allegations — which reportedly could lead to a lengthy suspension — and Brown’s social media mood swings, it’s fair to wonder whether the mercurial wide receiver ever will play another down of professional football. And whether he cares.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler painted a different picture in a piece published Monday, though, explaining that Brown was “devastated” after being released by the Patriots back in September because he “loved everything” about playing in New England.
Of course, it’s been a bumpy ride for Brown — most notably on social media — in the three months since the Patriots cut ties with the seven-time Pro Bowl selection, ending an 11-day tenure with the organization. His future never has looked more uncertain. But Fowler described an interaction Brown had with his dad, Eddie, shortly after being released by New England that suggested perhaps the former Pittsburgh Steelers star would start down a new path.
Here’s what Fowler wrote:
Eddie is used to Antonio reacting to tribulations with bullheadedness and a steadfast refusal to change — the son inherited his stubbornness from his father, after all.
But this time, Brown seemed eager to regain what he had lost. He sat down with his father and delivered these words: Maybe I need to change what I’m doing. Brown informed his dad that he was undergoing therapy, which a source has confirmed to ESPN. Neither Eddie nor the source could confirm what kind of therapy, the frequency of his treatment or much else — but Brown himself referenced his therapist on Twitter in October.
Brown has flip-flopped in recent months over whether he plans to play in the NFL again, even taking a shot at Robert Kraft before later apologizing to the Patriots owner and the organization. But it sure sounds like there could be part of him that misses football, to the point where some regret might be setting in.
“He understands something may be going on, and he’s going to see about it,” Eddie Brown, a former Arena Football League star, told Fowler in October. “If there is or isn’t, he’ll find out. But he’s not sitting around doing nothing. … That come-to-Jesus moment came home.”
Brown spent his first nine seasons with the Steelers, establishing himself as one of the NFL’s best wide receivers, before signing a lucrative contract with the Oakland Raiders this past offseason. A series of issues led to his release from Oakland and his arrival in New England for a stint that included only one regular-season game, in which Brown caught four passes for 56 yards with a touchdown.