Antonio Brown: Mr. Big Chest’s wild ride
By Bigoa Machar, Contributor
Nothing says autumn like millions of people around the world tune in every Sunday to observe a group of 22 men play hot potato with a sack of pigskin.
The NFL is one of the most watched sports leagues in the entire world is set to celebrate 100 years of existence — but nobody has controlled the league’s headlines in recent weeks like New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Brown, made his season debut with the Patriots during week two against the Miami Dolphins, and took a very long and unusual path to get to professional football’s Valhalla.
In order to fully understand the greatest temper tantrum in professional sports history, we have to go back to December 2018, to the frozen tundra of Pittsburgh.
It was here where Brown and his Pittsburgh Steelers were preparing for their most important game of the season against their AFC North division rivals Cincinnati Bengals.
Not even a week after putting up 185 yards and two touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints, Brown reportedly gotten into a heated spat with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Feeling disrespected, Brown decided to skip practice for the remainder of the week, leading to Steelers head coach choosing to bench him for the pivotal game.
While the Steelers won this game, they were eventually defeated by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the playoffs, a game in which Brown was also benched. It was clear to the observer, that Brown had played his last game as a Steeler and the question was not if he would be moved from the team, but a matter of when.
Also known by his self-anointed nickname “Mr. Big Chest”, Brown eventually agreed to meet with Steelers ownership once the season had concluded. These meetings eventually proved unfruitful, and Brown decided to start handing out roses for his eventual suitor.
Knowing that his on-field talent was matched only by his off-field antics, it proved to be a matter of time before some team would be duped into giving up real-life assets for this man.
That team was the Oakland Raiders, a team so incompetent that they almost make the Edmonton Oilers look like a functional sports franchise.
General manager Mike Mayock decided a third and a fifth-round pick was the right price for Mr. Big Chest’s services.
Raiders coach John Gruden spoke of Brown like a teenage girl talking about One Direction in 2009.
“I’ve told our receivers, if you watch him practice, you’ll see what unlocks the greatness in him,” Gruden says.” “[Brown] is the hardest working player I’ve ever seen practice.”
Turns out everyone at the Raiders organization though the same about Mr. Big Chest, as the team rewarded him with $30-million guaranteed over five years.
Much like every couple from The Bachelor, the honeymoon was short lived, as Brown quickly forgot that he is, in fact, Antonio Brown.
In May of this year, the NFL implemented a new set of rules that would distinguish which helmets would be okay on the field and which ones wouldn’t in an effort to reduce concussions, cases of CTE and mediocre Will Smith movies in the future.
This did not sit right with Mr. Big Chest, as his beloved helmet was now invalid. He took his frustration out on his coaches, openly clashing with team officials at off-season training camps and refusing to participate in any activities. Brown even decided to Scooby-Doo his way out of this by painting his old Steelers helmet black and silver, hopefully tricking team trainers.
*Narrator Voice* It didn’t.
It is now early August and one might think that Brown might be getting cold feet. And that’s quite literally what happened. When Brown made his training camp, he reportedly entered a cryotherapy machine wearing the wrong shoes. This resulted in severe frostbite on his feet, bad enough that he had to go see a feet specialist. To make matters worse, Brown took to Instagram to show his flesh-less feet in all their glory.
With the regular season right around the corner at this point, it was time for the Raiders brass to sort things out with Mr. Big Chest once and for all.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the meeting between the two parties was “tense” and a number of choice words were exchanged. Due to a clause in Brown’s contract, all of his guaranteed money was now void due to ‘conduct detrimental to the team’. Brown had no reason to play for the Raiders and asked for his release. After this confidential meeting, Brown took the audio from the call and turned it into a hype video that Nike advertising reps would be jealous of.
Not only did this violate team policy, but releasing recorded phone audio without both parties’ consent is illegal in the state of California (but let’s be real, this is the NFL. Nobody cares what you do as long as you don’t smoke a little weed or kneel down during a song).
Reluctantly, the Raiders decided to grant Brown his request, allowing him to sign with the NFL’s version of Thanos, the New England Patriots.
The reigning Super Bowl champions were already in a good position to repeat, and having arguably the best wide receiver in the league fall into their lap is the type of middle finger you’d expect the Patriots to give the rest of the NFL. The bad guys won, no lessons were learned, and Mr. Big Chest got all of the hype and attention he so desperately wanted.
During his debut a 43-0 rout of the lowly Miami Dolphins, Brown caught five balls, picking up 56 receiving yards that went along with a touchdown.
For a man used to catching 100+ and being targeted at least 10 times a game, his behaviour will be undoubtedly be muzzled by the likes of Patriots coach Bill Belichik who has a reputation for allowing circus acts — ranging from murderers, drug addicts and whatever else you can think of — will make Mr. Big Chest understand that they can win with or without him with the support of the six Lombardi trophies sitting inside Gillette Stadium.
Brown is currently under investigation for a sexual assault case relating to a former trainer so it only makes sense that a team like the Patriots will use his talents while they can, or simply cut ties with the top three receiver because they simply can win without him — as shows with the 33-3 dismantling Brown’s ex-team to open the season.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Brown got released by the Patriots on Sep. 20.