We've now reached the point in the 2019 NFL season (reminder: it is Week 1) where Antonio Brown literally cannot go 24 hours without making a new headline, and his latest one might be the most bizarre yet.
Hours after refuting reports that he confronted his team's general manager, Mike Mayock, with disparaging remarks and threats of physical violence, then promising an end to his dramatic offseason by declaring, "Enough talk," the polarizing Oakland Raiders wide receiver has done more talking via his most notorious platform, social media.
Late Friday night, Brown shared a nearly two-minute video on his verified Instagram and YouTube accounts -- a clip he described as a way for him to "control my own narrative" and put to rest "all these false narratives antagonizing me." The video, titled "THIS IS MY LIFE. AIN'T NO MORE GAMES," is captioned as proof of Brown showing "the world you can free yourself from the lies and become your own person."
And it combines footage of Brown, news segments centered on the former Pittsburgh Steelers star and audio of an apparent phone call between Brown, Raiders coach Jon Gruden and Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
Here's a transcript of the exchange depicted in the video (contains NSFW language), featuring a voice alleged to be Gruden's pleading with Brown to "just play football" and at one point asking the receiver if he even wants to play for Oakland:
Drew Rosenhaus: A.B.? Antonio? Coach is on the line.
Jon Gruden: Hello? What the hell's going on, man?
Antonio Brown: Just a villain all over the news, man.
Gruden: You're not a villain. You're just, you're the most misunderstood (explicit) human being in my entire life I've ever met. I mean, I brought you here because you're my favorite guy, I've never seen a guy work harder. But I don't know where you are in your life right now, off the field. All I know is you got a lot of things going, there's a lot of people that have an opinion about you, and whether it be good or bad, you're in the spotlight all the time ... Let me ask you this: Do you want to be a Raider or not?
Brown: Man, I've been trying to be a Raider since day one. I've been (explicit) working my ass off harder than anyone. I don't know why it's a question of me being a Raider. It's like, do you guys want me to be a Raider?
Gruden: Please stop this (explicit) and just play football. How hard is it, man? You're a great football player, just play football.
Brown: But I'm more than a football player. I'm a real person. It ain't about the football, I know how to do that, I show you guys that on the daily. This my life. Ain't no more games.
The video, which concludes and runs with dramatic background music as if teasing an upcoming product or reality show, could have potentially put Brown in legal jeopardy. State wiretapping law in California requires two-party consent for private communications, including phone calls. It is unknown whether the Raiders coach, who appears to be part of the voice recordings Brown shared in the video, knew he was being taped. It appears, however, that Brown's video does not bother him.
More on @AB84 You Tube video: Raiders source says Gruden was truly amused by it and even thought it was "awesome."— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) September 7, 2019
That's all. Next.
In any event, Brown's brief but tumultuous stay with the Raiders doesn't figure to get any smoother from here. Just this week, the Pro Bowl pass catcher was reportedly at risk of being suspended for posting about his distaste for training-camp fines on social media, then returned to the team with apologies for Mayock, Gruden and the rest of the organization.
CBS Sports' Will Brinson fired up another emergency edition of the Pick Six Podcast earlier on Friday to break down the news that Brown would avoid a suspension and, according to Gruden, be available for Week 1. Check it out below and be sure to subscribe to the daily NFL show wherever you get your podcasts:
Controversy, of course, is nothing new to Brown, who spent the first nine years of his NFL career with the Steelers. The seven-time Pro Bowler has long been heralded one of the top receivers in the game and of his time, but he had an unceremonious exit from Pittsburgh this offseason after feuding with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and reportedly steering clear of the team following a Week 17 benching by coach Mike Tomlin in 2018.
Even after joining the Raiders via trade, he all but excused himself from chunks of training camp because of a bout with frostbite, a public objection to new NFL helmet regulations and, now, for an apparent inability to process fines levied by Mayock -- another of which, per ESPN, came down just before Friday's video posting.