Antonio Brown rules out XFL, dishes on Brady, Roethlisberger, Smith-Schuster, and reveals his plan for 2020
The unsigned wide receiver unloaded on a number of topics during a lengthy interview Friday
Antonio Brown has for several weeks now, acknowledging mistakes he made during a tumultuous 2019 that saw him discarded by three different teams and thrust into an NFL investigation over multiple off-field allegations. On Friday, however, the much-maligned wide receiver sandwiched more apologies in between gossip about former teammates like Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster, as well as his former agent Drew Rosenhaus. Appearing on "The Breakfast Club" for a nearly 40-minute interview, Brown dished on everything from his hopeful return to the NFL to his stance on the newly revived XFL. Here's a rundown of some of his most notable comments:
Returning to the NFL
Brown said multiple times he still wants to play football and is hoping the league will absolve him of any punishment from separateand by the time 2020 free agency begins on March 18.
"I just want to be on a team that protects my well-being," he said, confirming reports that he's recently spoken with Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden and "hopefully" will be in touch with the Raiders about a reunion in the near future.
Playing in the XFL
The XFL might employ some of Brown's former teammates, including QB Landry Jones, but he had no problem ripping the possibility of him ever suiting up for the newly revived league in 2020.
"That's lower-class football," Brown said. "I don't support XFL, man. If it ain't the highest level, man, I'm not playing ... I don't want to go chill with 60 dudes every day and guys jealous 'cause AB getting all the touchdowns, AB getting all the girls they wishing about, you know?"
Playing with Tom Brady again
Of all the people he addressed in his interview, the one who garnered nothing but praise was the longtime New England Patriots quarterback, who is set to hit the open market this offseason.
"You got to have a relationship with the quarterback," Brown said. "Quarterback is everything. Especially for a wide receiver, you've got to have a relationship ... (and) I just think Tom is a special quarterback -- his leadership and him affecting the guys around him, just putting players at peace and encouraging them to work as hard as he work."
Brown said he still speaks with Brady, roughly five months after the Patriots cut Brown (and), and indicated he and No. 12 are interested in playing together again: "We would like to make it happen."
Issues with Ben Roethlisberger
Just a day after issuing an apology to his former Pittsburgh Steelers QB via Instagram, Brown couldn't seem to decide whether to pile on his ex-teammate or move on. Brown made clear he "can't make excuses for what I did" in Pittsburgh and said "I could've handled myself better," later saying he's "forever grateful for Ben." But he also didn't hesitate to rehash his issues with Roethlisberger.
First, Brown suggested Roethlisberger never invited him to his house or treated him "like a human being." After acknowledging his own temper accentuated the duo's lack of chemistry, particularly when Ben wasn't throwing him the ball as often as he wanted, Brown then suggested he wasn't the only Steeler to have problems with No. 7.
"I think it was all an act with him," he said. "Guys around him could never really see eye to eye ... There's rules, and then there's Ben."
Issues with JuJu Smith-Schuster
Brown tried to downplay his 2019 Twitter back-and-forth with his former teammate, suggesting he only challenged the Steelers wideout out of friendly competition. He also said he and Smith-Schuster have since spoken about their relationship. But he still appeared disgruntled at how everyone -- namely Smith-Schuster and the media -- portrayed their contentious conversations.
"He think he the best, I am the best," Brown said of his successor. "Ben (was) trying to force him the ball to make him the guy ... Everyone want to protect the little kid and come after me these days."
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