It already seems like a foregone conclusion that Antonio Brown will not play in the NFL again this year. But if he does put on a helmet again, one former general manager thinks it could be a very familiar landing spot.
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Jeff Diamond, former general manager of the Minnesota Vikings and president of the Tennessee Titans, sees Brown possibly back in the NFL as early as next season. While this all assumes that Brown is cleared of a litany of legal matters and isn’t serious about his college studies at this juncture, there will undoubtedly be a certain level of interest in the former All-Pro wide receiver.
Already this year, Brown has been on three teams. The Pittsburgh Steelers traded him before the NFL Draft to the Oakland Raiders, who summarily cut him in September after an alleged physical altercation. Days later, the New England Patriots signed Brown, then released him within two weeks after he played one game.
“I think he’s done for the year. I think he’s going to try to claim the Raiders [who] owe him some guaranteed money and the Patriots with the signing bonus,” Diamond told FoxBusiness.com. “He’ll take his time for this year but I expect him to land somewhere in 2020. I think he’ll try to end this and all that, if — and that’s a big one, if the sexual assault claims are not substantiated, then I expect him to be back somewhere in 2020.”
That landing spot, Diamond thinks, is in New England.
The Patriots have a reputation for being willing to take on rehabilitation projects and Brown was already targeted by the organization as fitting that mold. There also were reports that quarterback Tom Brady was disappointed to see Brown cut as the offense lost a potentially potent component.
When asked where Brown might land, especially since he is considered a liability around the NFL, Diamond admitted the market is likely small. But his last team might just welcome a return.
“I think there are probably just a handful [of teams]. Honestly, the Patriots seem like one of the candidates and maybe that can resurface at some point if he’s cleared of all these charges,” Diamond said.
“I think they could potentially [sign him], if he’s cleared of these charges. We’ll see. It’s hard to say, there’s 32 teams out there. All it takes is one. The guy is obviously a physical talent, we know that. But he’s a head case right now and in that regard, nobody wants to deal with that at this stage of the game. I won’t be surprised – anything that happens with Antonio Brown would not surprise me.”