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Antonio Brown: What's Next For Him and the Buccaneers?

Antonio Brown had a very visible melt down during the Jets vs. Buccaneers game.

Antonio Brown has had an illustrious NFL career, despite all the drama and distraction. A Super Bowl champion, Brown also has 7 Pro Bowl selections, has twice led the NFL in reception yards, twice led the league in receptions, and was a member of the NFL's 2010 all-decade team. 

Yesterday, Brown walked off the field at MetLife stadium towards the end of the third quarter. In the video, Brown can be seen taking off his jersey, pads, and shirt and throwing them into the crowd, and walking off.

Past Histories

Brown's history of bizarre moments goes back pretty far. There are also incidents of behavior from Brown that are abhorrent and unforgivable. Brown was accused of sexual assault by a former trainer. Brown also pleaded no contest to a felony burglary after a fight with a moving truck driver. These two incidents alone are difficult to excuse.

Brown has also caught fire for throwing a football at a teammate in 2018, refused to play because he refused to wear a much safer NFL helmet, demanded a release from the Raiders, and been suspended for faking his COVID-19 vaccination. All of these incidents are stories that could fill a novel with their breadth and bizarre details. Given the baggage that has followed Brown in these incidents, it would be easy to write this off as just the latest in Antonio Brown's career. It would be easy to write Brown as a career cancer in every locker room he's ever played. Unfortunately for Brown, it does appear that way.

Reductive Narratives

As it is with many things, Brown's most recent episode is likely not as simple as another 'diva' moment. Brown is an NFL player and unfortunately, when playing football, especially for as long as Brown has played, some will point to things like CTE to explain his behavior. 

The National Health Service defines CTE as "Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive brain condition that's thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion. It's particularly associated with contact sports, such as boxing or American football."

All people should be held accountable for their actions, especially actions that harm other people. Brown has been credibly accused of sexual assault and admitted to the felony burglary. However, when do enough people start asking these questions about CTE? Phillip Adams murdered six people before killing himself. His autopsy showed his brain had suffered from an unusually severe case of CTE. Junior Seau and Dave Duerson's suicides were both very similar as were the autopsies, which concluded a history of CTE for both players.

Not all of Brown's behavior can be blamed on CTE; if any. It certainly can't be out of the question, however.

Brown's Costly Meltdown

It is worth noting that Brown's exit is a costly meltdown for him. It is difficult to believe a person in a good frame of mind would walk away from that much money. It could be that Brown needs some help, or that Brown just does not want to play football anymore. It would only be speculation to guess.

What's Next For Tampa Bay and AB?

Due to the distraction from Brown, many failed to notice that Tom Brady led the Buccaneers to a comeback win versus the Jets. The Buccaneers outscored the Jets 11-0 in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay is playoff-bound and is currently the number two seed behind the Green Bay Packers. Past history has shown that any NFL team led by Tom Brady is never out of contention and that any Tom Brady-led team gunning for the playoffs has a chance to win it all. Losing Brown certainly hurts the Buccaneers, but they still have enough weapons around the team to contend for another Super Bowl berth.

As for Brown, the future is a complete mystery. Brown could probably use some help. If anything, Brown needs to truly understand what he wants next for his immediate future, since Tampa Boy coach Bruce Arians made it clear that Brown's time with the Buccaneers is done. One would hope that Brown finds the peace he is looking for.