When Antonio Brown found out the Oakland Raiders released him Saturday, he burst out of his chair, sprinted outside, flapped his wings, and yelled “free!”
Brown was invigorated by the news, and he was also thrilled to later join the Patriots.
Here’s Antonio Brown finding out the Raiders released him: pic.twitter.com/nP4AZUh84s
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 7, 2019
The news that he was coming to New England was a surprise, but his release from the Raiders was anything but after a string of unusual bitterness and feuding. Brown joined the Raiders in March and was there for less than six months.
Brown told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington there was “no way” he was going to play for the Raiders after they took away his contract guarantees. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Raiders fined Brown $215,073.53 for conduct detrimental to the team, which, Darlington clarified, voided the $29.125 million worth of guaranteed money in his deal.
Darlington wrote that the Raiders told him he would be playing on a week-to-week basis. Brown explicitly requested that the Raiders release him, noting that he’s not mad at anyone but simply wants “the freedom to prove them all wrong.”
“You are gonna piss a lot of people off when you start doing what’s best for you,” Brown wrote.
Before that, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said the team planned to play Brown in Week 1, but that belief didn’t last long. The two sides had built up too much animosity in the few weeks prior for that decision to come to fruition.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported Friday that Brown initiated a confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock and “unleashed a barrage of cuss words” and called Mayok a “cracker.” Brown denied to ESPN’s Dianna Russini that he used that word, but it’s clear a fracas did ensue.
Gruden and Brown reportedly had a conversation about his future with the team, and Gruden encouraged Brown to focus on football. The wide receiver reportedly responded by saying it’s not that simple.
“I’m more than just a football player, man,” Brown reportedly said. “I’m a real person. I’m a real person. It ain’t about the football, I know I can do that. I show you guys that on the daily. This is my life. Ain’t no more games.”
In July, he reportedly showed up to training camp with frostbite on the bottom of both feet due to a cryotherapy mishap earlier in the month in France. He was spotted in a hot-air balloon shortly after that time and was reportedly fined $40,000 for the unexcused absence.
Then in August, Brown made it clear he needed to wear the same helmet he had worn throughout his entire career even though the NFL requested he use a new one. Brown turned to the public to find the model of Schutt Air Advantage helmet after it was discontinued. ESPN reported that on Sept. 4 he found a Xenith helmet he liked.