USA Today

Antonio Brown hasn't played football since his acrimonious split from the Buccaneers late in the 2021 season. And he might not play ever again. Weeks after abruptly announcing he'd like to retire with the Steelers, his longtime team and another dramatic divorcee, the former All-Pro wide receiver said during a Fan Controlled Football broadcast that he won't play in 2022, hinting that his NFL career is over.

"Obviously we live the game, but you can't play forever," Brown told Charly Arnolt when asked if football remains a priority for him. "I think I'm a great player that's done everything in the game."

Asked if he'll be back on an NFL field in 2022, Brown was even more direct.

"Nah," he said, "don't play yourself looking (for) me to play."

The 33-year-old Brown added during the interview that he's content with off-field endeavors, whatever they may be.

"I do what I want," he said. "Obviously I'm a 12-year veteran, one of the best players of all time, and my job is to live. Life is about living. We all gonna die ... I'm a rapper, I do shows, I'm an independent businessman. Business booming."

OK then. In truth, Brown isn't necessarily stepping away from the NFL as much as the NFL is stepping away from him. While the former Central Michigan product is undeniably one of the best pass catchers of his time, posting seven 1,000-yard seasons during a 12-year run that included seven Pro Bowl nods, he remains unsigned in large part due to ugly departures from his last four teams. After nine years in Pittsburgh, Brown had short-lived stints with the Raiders, Patriots and Buccaneers, infamously removing his pads and exiting Tampa Bay's Week 17 win shirtless after a feud with Tampa Bay staff.