The problem for Brown is that he comes with some serious baggage. Besides the fact that he always seems to drum up controversy wherever he goes, any team that might sign him also has to worry about his injured ankle.
Brown suffered the injury during the 2021 season and as he tells it, it's the same injury the Buccaneers wanted him to play through when he stormed off the field while shirtless against the Jets in January (the Buccaneers have insisted that his injury had nothing to do with the bizarre situation, but Brown says otherwise).
If Brown wants to return to the NFL this year, he's probably going to get his ankle surgically repaired, but apparently, he doesn't want to get it surgically repaired unless a team signs him first. The receiver revealed that information during an interview with TMZ this week.
"I need to get my ankle fixed, but I just want to make sure I got an obligation or a commitment from a team," Brown said. "It's a lot for a guy to go do surgery without an idea of where you gonna work, or who you going to work for."
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Teams might not be willing to sign Brown unless he gets his ankle fixed, but he's not going to get it fixed unless he gets signed, so you can probably see the problem here. He's basically created the NFL version of the chicken-and-egg situation, which is likely going to complicate any hopes he has of making a return.
If teams don't reach out, it's not clear what Brown will do, but he definitely wants to play.
"I'm a player first," Brown said. "I couldn't even be in this position without being a football player. So I never want to take that for granted. I would love to continue my career. I got a lot of game left in me."
Although Brown thinks he's talented enough to play for any team, he did acknowledge that one team he definitely won't be playing for is the Buccaneers.
"I don't think that's a possibility," Brown said. "How things were handled. How I was handled in regards to the injury. [They] just weren't able to use me for my value. My true value. ... But I was grateful for the opportunity and the position that I was in and I made the most out of it."
It's somewhat surprising to hear Brown say he's "grateful" for his time in Tampa, if only because he blamed Brady and the Buccaneers for many of his problems back in February.
If a team does decide to sign the seven-time Pro Bowler, he thinks he'll be able to make an instant impact.
"I still feel like I can put up big numbers, and I see what these guys are getting paid," Brown said. "I just wonder why my value isn't being upheld as the same."