When Antonio Brown apologized to owner Robert Kraft and the rest of the Patriots organization on Wednesday, rumors swirled that perhaps the star wide receiver would re-join the team sometime this season.
With disgruntled quarterback Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots offense struggling to consistently put up points, Brown’s return could help them significantly from a football standpoint. Brown has been a distraction off the field, however, and in his Instagram post he said he’s sorry for the “bad media and the drama” he’s caused.
Brown spent 11 days with the Patriots, and he’s currently under investigation after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced during his short yet eventful stint in New England. He’s since expressed interest in returning to the league, and ProFootball Talk’s Mike Florio reported that Brown is optimistic he’ll be cleared to do so before the end of this season.
Because he’s a free agent, he’s eligible to sign with any team if he’s granted permission from the NFL. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, however, reported Thursday that the Patriots won’t be that team.
The Patriots will not be re-signing Antonio Brown, according to a source. Those rumors can be put to rest.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) November 22, 2019
NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran reported that the Patriots have no interest in bringing Brown back.
“Two sources with knowledge of the Patriots thinking scoffed at the idea Antonio Brown would rejoin the Patriots this season,” Curran wrote. “When one source was asked if there was a chance the wideout – who was with the Patriots for less than two tumultuous weeks in September – might have a chance at rejoining the team, this was the two-word response. ‘What’s changed?'”
It’s not quite that straightforward, though. Earlier this week, former Patriot Christian Fauria said New England has “kicked the tires” on Brown. Fauria, speaking on WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni & Fauria, said there have been discussions about a potential reunion.
Brady, unsurprisingly, deflected the question when Jim Gray from Westwood One asked him about Brown on Thursday.
“I don’t think those decisions honestly are up to me,” Brady told Gray. “They are not up to me when we cut players or sign players. I think the people in the personnel department decide those things. My job is to play quarterback and that is what I am trying to do as well as I possibly can.”
Brown has made it clear he wouldn’t be opposed to rejoining the team.
“If you guys follow the Patriots, tell them to call me,”in October. “They still gotta pay me, so might as well let me earn it.”