Multiple NFL teams have reportedly been sniffing around Antonio Brown in the lead-up to the 2020 season, but even if someone signs the free agent wide receiver, they won't get him for a full season. CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reports that the NFL has suspended Brown for the first eight games of 2020 for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Brown, who had been under investigation by the NFL for multiple off-field incidents, has another hearing in a civil suit related to sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations scheduled for Sept. 15, according to NFL Network, which falls just after Week 1. The former Pittsburgh Steelers standout would be eligible to participate in training camp if he found a team ahead of the 2020 season, per Tom Pelissero, but his eight-game suspension will go into effect on Sept. 5, the date of the final roster cut-down. There's also a chance the suspension could be extended "if further violations are found related" to the ongoing lawsuit.
Brown has since accepted the discipline, Pelissero added, and is not expected to appeal the suspension. The soonest that he could appear on the field, then, pending an adjustment to the suspension, is Week 9.
Brown has not taken the field since Week 2 of the 2019 season, when he had a one-game stint with the New England Patriots. Three days after signing with the Pats, who acquired him hours after he demanded his release from the Oakland Raiders, Brown was accused of sexual assault by a former trainer. Released in late September after further allegations surfaced, Brown returned to the spotlight in January after he faced three charges stemming from an alleged burglary of a moving truck at his home.
Despite the legal clouds hanging over Brown, in addition to his tumultuous journey from the Steelers to the Raiders to the Patriots in 2019, several teams -- and their starting quarterbacks -- have openly toyed with the idea of adding the former Pro Bowler in 2020. The Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson has been lobbying for a chance to play with Brown, while the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson has reportedly been doing the same.
Brown himself has given mixed signals as to his intentions for 2020. The 32-year-old pass catcher, who was widely considered one of the top receivers in the game prior to his departure from Pittsburgh, has repeatedly suggested he's done playing football but just recently called upon the NFL to complete its investigation so that he can resume his career.