Antonio Brown is still a Tampa Bay Buccaneer as of Wednesday. This should come as a rather big surprise to everybody who has been even loosely paying attention over the last few days. Brown made himself a headline and a punchline on Sunday when he took off his clothes and pranced out of MetLife Stadium in the midst of Bucs-Jets. Bruce Arians declined to explain what happened afterwards but did adamantly state that Brown was no longer a member of the team, a statement supported by Brown's exodus to New York City and appearance at Nets-Grizzlies on Monday night.
But we're now three days past that statement and Brown hasn't been officially released yet. Right now the general consensus seems to be that the Bucs haven't filed the paperwork yet because they're in talks with the NFL on which designation they can use to release him, which is a fancy way of saying they're trying to save as much money as possible and don't want to cut him outright unless they have to.
But even when the Bucs eventually get around to cutting Brown (and they will, no doubt about it), the saga of the receiver is far from over.
Whenever something like this happens -- a talented player goes off the deep end for whatever reason -- I am reminded of Cardinals GM Steve Keim and his legendary quote about the way the NFL will talk itself into any player on the planet if there's enough on-field justification.
Keim said that in 2015. Things have not changed. What Brown did was unprecedented. We have never, ever seen a player literally quit on his team like that before in the middle of a game. That singular act goes against everything every NFL coach has ever said about team-building and the type of guy they want in the building to win games. Between that and everything else about Brown (his off-field legal issues and sexual assault allegations, history of conflict with his teammates, consistently high-level self-sabotage), the man appears to be the antithesis of what NFL teams are looking for in their employees. He is a distraction in every manner you can imagine.
But it doesn't matter because Brown was blessed with other-worldly talent. Even at 33 his combination of speed, agility, and route-running is nearly unmatched. Despite what all the organizations in the league will say publicly, someone will give Brown a job. Every GM will convince themselves they can be the ones to fix Brown and benefit from his skills, even if the last three years are extreme evidence to the contrary. Even after his most recent debacle, Brown will find a spot somewhere if he wants it.
It is aggravating and hypocritical and downright despicable considering the acts Brown has been accused of, but it is the truth.
And it doesn't seem like he's ready to go down without a fight. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted out yesterday that Brown's camp is preparing a statement in regards to the severity of the injury that he felt prevented him from playing, which led to his public meltdown.
If you thought the Bucs would just cut Brown because of his actions and that would be the end of that, you are wrong. We're just getting started here, folks.