Remembering That One Time Antonio Brown Played In Game For Patriots

Brown caught four balls for 56 yards and a touchdown


Sep 29, 2021

Antonio Brown and Tom Brady on Sunday finally will play together in Gillette Stadium. Of course, they’ll be doing so for the Buccaneers, rather than for the Patriots.

Sunday’s game between New England and Tampa Bay is headlined by the returns of Brady and Rob Gronkowski to Foxboro, Mass. However, it kinda-sorta will be a homecoming for Brown, as well.

The star receiver forced his way out of Pittsburgh in spectacular fashion after the 2018 season, and months later somehow one-upped himself for the then-Oakland Raiders, who cut Brown two days before their first game. A couple of days later, Brown landed in New England to, along with Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman, form a potentially dynamite receiving corps.

The next day? Brown was accused of rape. A bizarre, uncomfortable week at One Patriot Place ensued, but Brown nevertheless traveled to Miami the same weekend.

It was there, at Hard Rock Stadium, that Brown played his one and only game in a Patriots uniform. And he made an immediate impact.

On the second play of New England’s first drive, Brady hit Brown for an 18-yard gain. They connected two plays later for another 10 yards, then again two plays later for eight yards. The drive resulted in a Sony Michel touchdown run.

The Patriots offense was so-so the rest of the first quarter and much of the second, but Brady found Brown near the end of the first half for a spectacular 20-yard touchdown.

(You can click here to watch the full highlights from Brown’s Patriots debut.)

Brady failed to complete another ball to Brown the rest of the game. New England’s offense looked a bit out of sync, which was to be expected, but the potential Brown brought to the passing game was clear as day.

Everything after that was a total bleep-storm.

More disturbing allegations were brought forth against Brown, including threatening message he allegedly sent to a woman. He was released by the Patriots on Sept. 20, five days after his team debut. Soon afterward, Brown publicly attacked Robert Kraft, went after the NFL as a whole and, among other things, got into multiple confrontations with Florida police.

It was ugly.

Brown eventually left the limelight and ultimately spent a little over a year without an NFL job. He signed with Buccaneers, still new to life with Brady, on Oct. 27, 2020.

For a variety of reasons, most of which probably are concerning, Brown’s legal woes faded into the background and rarely have been mentioned since his New England exit. He went on to win Super Bowl LV with the Bucs, who have a real shot of repeating as champions this season. Brown is playing well, he and Brady are tight, and all is well in Tampa.

After missing Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams due to COVID-19, Brown apparently will play Sunday against the Patriots. You can add the possibility of Brown catching a touchdown from Brady to the long list of salt-in-the-wound moments potentially in store for Patriots fans, many of whom believe Brady still would be in New England if Brown hadn’t been released.

That, of course, is an entirely different rabbit hole.

Brown and the Patriots clearly weren’t meant to be. But, for just one day in the fall of 2019, he and Brady offered a glimpse at what could have been had Brown’s off-field life not been such a total disaster.

Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
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