Evanson Column: Antonio Brown's 'crazy' is interesting, but not for long
Forget the Dos Equis man. Antonio Brown might be the most interesting man in the world.
I say that not out of respect, for respect is earned, but rather out of disbelief over what has to be one of the dumbest sequences of events in the history of professional sports.
In the span of six months, Brown orchestrated a trade to Oakland that included a $30 million contract extension, talked himself out of Oakland and the $29 million dollars guaranteed him as part of his new deal, signed with the New England Patriots and was subsequently cut after just a single game as the result of his behavior in the wake of sexual assault allegations that arose shortly after his arrival in Foxboro.
Lest we forget that he also suffered frostbite on both feet after a cryotherapy mishap, threatened to retire over the NFL's insistence he equip himself with a proper helmet, and posted a series of private emails and phone conversations with Raider head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock on social media, the latest revelations seem to represent the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Now, as we all sit around scratching our heads at what can only be described as behavior teetering somewhere between insanity and Lloyd Christmas, the former Steeler, Raider and Patriot wide out has made what might be his most head-scratching decision yet: he's going back to school.
That's right, after going scorched Earth on social media this past Sunday morning, taking aim at and then "retiring" from the NFL via Twitter — in addition to slandering former Steeler teammate Ben Roethlisberger and Fox Sports talking head Shannon Sharpe, among others — Brown registered for classes at Central Michigan University, posting a photo of his class schedule in a Monday morning tweet.
At first glance, I thought, good for him. After all, he's certainly proven himself a candidate for further education. But at second glance, I realized that by thinking that, I'm breaking one of my golden rules: never apply rational thought to irrational behavior. And this dude ain't rational.
I haven't even gotten to the accusations of rape, sexual assault and outstanding debt hovering not far above his head, which, if proven to be true, far outweigh his mere acts of idiocy.
There's no debating Brown's talent. He has been and likely still is one of the best receivers in the game. In his nine years in the league, the 31-year-old, originally from Florida, has averaged more than 1,200 yards, eight touchdowns and 93 catches per season. He was on pace to finish in the top-10 with potential to get as high as second in all-time receiving yards, top-10 in receiving touchdowns and top-5 in receptions. He also has 47 games with at least 100 yards receiving and was on track to reach the top five on that list. But all of that seems gone now. Even if by some miracle of the almighty he's cleared of his alleged illegalities, goes the therapy route made famous by fallen celebrity athletes like Michael Vick, Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods, or wakes up tomorrow on the right side of the IQ Mendoza line, the guy's sanity will still be in question — and it's that craziness that might keep the NFL from knock-knock-knockin' on Brown's door ever again.
So my advice to Brown would be this: be less interesting.
Go back to school. Get off of social media. Stay in shape, and come back to the game a year from now with the attitude you supposedly came into the league with — that of a humble, hard-working and motivated athlete looking to prove a point. Because if you're innocent of the legal charges against you, are of sound mind and genuinely want to play the game, I'm interested in seeing you do it. But if you're guilty of any of those charges, continue to be crazy and only around for the paycheck, stay home — because that's not interesting anymore ... it's just nuts.
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