LOS ANGELES: Mercurial receiver Antonio Brown is reportedly headed to the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, hours after he was cut by the Oakland Raiders before he could make his debut with the NFL stragglers.
Brown posted a photo of himself grinning in a Patriots uniform on Twitter as US media, including NFL.com, reported he had agreed to a one-year, $15 million deal with New England.
Brown won’t be eligible to play in the Pats’ season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday because he wasn’t on their roster in time after a soap-opera Saturday saw him cut, finally, by the Raiders.
The Patriots, led by superstar quarterback Tom Brady, were apparently undaunted by Brown’s troubles with his last two teams.
Upon being released — as he demanded — from the Raiders Brown posted on Twitter Saturday: “The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth”.
The saga of the talented wide receiver has riveted the NFL through training camps, the tension between
Brown and the Raiders ratcheting up this week as the league launched its centenary season.
After Brown, irked at being fined for missing training camp activities, faced off in a heated altercation with general manager Mike Mayock, the Raiders thought they had smoothed things over.
On Friday, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said Brown had apologized and he still expected Brown to start Monday’s game against the Denver Broncos.
But after Brown again took to social media to air his discontent on Saturday — demanding in an Instagram post that the team “release me” the Raiders did just that.
Gruden had come in for criticism for failing to back Mayock, but the coach said Saturday he was only sorry to see Brown go.
“We tried every way possible to make it work,” Gruden said in a press conference at the team’s practice facility. “I’m sorry it didn’t. I wish Antonio nothing but the best.”
Brown arrived in Oakland in an off-season trade after an acrimonious end to his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he feuded with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and was benched for the final game of last season.
The Raiders snapped him up with a three-year deal worth a reported $54.1 million.