Antonio Brown is now an active player for the first time since Week 2 of the 2019 season. He was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers about two weeks ago following the end of his suspension by the NFL due to violations of the personal conduct policy. After a long journey that involved several lawsuits, two retirements, an ESPN interview, and an unreleased rap album, Brown will likely see the football field once more this week.
A very large part of the reason he is currently employed is Tom Brady. While Bruce Arians and the rest of the Bucs brass have been overtly insistent that this was not a decision made because the star quarterback wanted it to happen, evidence suggests Brady at least played a part. He has been an advocate for Brown going back to when the problematic wideout was signed by the Patriots.
He let Brown stay at his house then, even in the midst of Brown's sexual assault allegations. Brown is staying at Brady's house again in Tampa. All the rumors leading up to Brown's signing in Tampa suggested Brady was his biggest advocate in the building. Dan Graziano went on ESPN this morning and said this was definitely a Brady-driven decision while revealing that the star QB left Brown voicemails over the offseason, telling him that wherever Brady goes, Brown will go.
Tom Brady clearly loves this guy, for whatever reason. The question that arises in my mind after hearing all this, though, is if Brown feels the same way.
From what we, the public, know, Brown and Brady did not have any sort of personal relationship before the former ended up in New England after a tumultuous summer as a member of the Raiders. Once Brown became available, Brady started telling Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick that he wanted this guy, mostly because the Patriots' offensive weapons in 2019 consisted of Julian Edelman and nobody else worth noting. This led to Brown rooming with Brady before he got cut and subsequently blasted Kraft on social media.
Now we hear that Brady spent at least some of his free agency dialing up Brown to tell him to follow Brady wherever he goes. From the sounds of it, Brown did not even pick up the phone since they were voicemails. What if Brown is just as confused about Brady's affinity for him as the rest of us? What if he just woke up one day and the greatest quarterback of all time left him 10 voicemails singing his praises and asking Brown to join his team? Then keeps calling him eight months after the fact, talking about how great they'll be in a new city? Then insisting he lives in his house?
Sure would be weird. Brady is a pretty weird guy anyway, what with his strawberry avoidance and snake oil and what have you. But Brown now has an opportunity to prove to Brady that he does, in fact, care about him in equal measure. Not only can he thank Tom and Gisele for the room and board they're providing every night, he can put his head down, play football, stay off Twitter, and stay out of trouble. Tampa Bay's receiving corps is so loaded that they don't need Brown when fully healthy. But Brown could enjoy a career revival that nobody could have imagined six months ago if he can keep his head on straight. The trial starts now.