TribLIVE’s Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox.
Antonio Brown is making it sound like he’s done playing football.
The former Steelers All-Pro hinted at retirement on Twitter Monday. For Tuesday’s “First Call,” we analyze where Brown may be going with this approach and some of the online reaction to his “announcement.”
Mr. Big Chest made some big news on Monday: he’s through with the NFL.
Former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown sent out a series of tweets intimating that he is walking away from the game of football.
Is it time to walk away i done everything in the game ?!!
— AB (@AB84) July 20, 2020
at this point the risk is greater than the reward thank you everyone who been part of this journey i sincerely thank you for everything! life goes on 84!
— AB (@AB84) July 20, 2020
Brown later added, “life goes on 84! I came i saw i conquered mission complete Call God.”
Actually, A.B., you didn’t “conquer.” You didn’t do “everything” in this game. And you didn’t complete the mission because you didn’t win a Super Bowl.
We have to take this “news” with a massive grain of salt. First of all, it’s Antonio Brown. He can say one thing on Twitter Monday, then say exactly the opposite on Tuesday.
That’s the A.B. way. One day he’s Antonio. The next he’s “Ronald.” Lately, he’s been “Himothy.” On Thursday, he may be “Mr. Big Chest” once more.
Often, none of these guys are on the same page.
Granted, aside from sharing pictures of his recent bithday celebration, the 32 year-old has been very quiet on Twitter of late. Shockingly so.
While so many of us have used Twitter as a way to spout off about anything from race relations, to the presidential election, to coronavirus, to “Tiger King,” Brown has been stunningly silent over the last few months based on his previous social media behavior.
That trend reversed Monday, though, based on his tweet storm.
This behavior from Brown is not unique. He previously considered giving up the game when he was fighting with the Oakland Raiders over his helmet. And he threatened to retire a week after the Patriots released him the wake of those threatening text messages he sent to a woman — one of two alleged victims who have had accused him of sexual misconduct.
Now ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says there may be a connection between Brown’s retirement threats and the case brought against him by one of those women, Britney Taylor.
A source said Antonio Brown recently got close to settling his case with Britney Taylor and scheduled a mediation but then backed out of it. That’s the second time he’s gotten close to settling, then publicly hinted at retirement shortly thereafter.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 20, 2020
The NFL has yet to officially discipline Brown for his behavior in either case. As a result, should he sign with a team, a suspension is likely before he is allowed on the field. Therefore, no one has been willing to take on Brown’s wild talents because they have no idea how many games he’ll be allowed to play in his first season under a new contract.
That said, the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens have both reportedly indicated some level of interest in Brown in recent months.
Especially with the NFL’s return-to-play talk heating up, jobs potentially available if players opt out, and a season that might get truncated without Brown having to pay the full price of his suspension anyway, this feels like an odd time for the former Pro Bowler to finally give up the fight.
This strikes me as Brown’s version of, “I’m fired? What?! No way! I quit!”
In other words, I think this is “Ronald’s” way of saying, “You can’t keep me out. I retire. Ha! Gotcha!”
Regardless, Brown has been his own sideshow for 19 months now. So Twitter certainly basked in the news of his announcement — particularly in Pittsburgh, Oakland and New England.
Antonio Brown sailing off into the sunset after retiring…pic.twitter.com/Cm5ZZfQGJk
— Raider Cody (@RaiderCody) July 20, 2020
— terri (@usher81) July 21, 2020
Nobody : Antonio brown coming onto social media to announce hes retiring from the nfl every other week : pic.twitter.com/QnH1bEDkq8
— john (@iam_johnw) July 20, 2020
Antonio Brown after saying he is retiring again pic.twitter.com/6Xm7tJbomQ
— Spidey_YT (@Spidey_YT21) July 20, 2020
— TBJN (@Or_St14) July 20, 2020
You can expect a similar reaction when Brown announces a “comeback.” I predict that to occur sometime between now and the end of August.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at email@example.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.
Sports | Steelers/NFL | Breakfast With Benz