The fix was in, wasn't it?
That's the feeling around the NFL with Antonio Brown joining the Patriots hours after being released by the Raiders on Saturday. Even Jerry Rice, who used to have a close relationship with AB, believes this was all planned.
To no surprise, Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus says otherwise.
"There was no fix," Rosenhaus said Monday morning on ESPN's "First Take." "We did try to make it work with the Raiders. If it weren't for a letter we received from the Raiders telling Antonio that his contract would be voided, he would be playing tonight for the Oakland Raiders.
"That's the unfortunate thing."
Antonio Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus says that "there was no fix" of a long-term conspiracy when it comes to AB leaving the Raiders. pic.twitter.com/ZoabM4vwTp— First Take (@FirstTake) September 9, 2019
Brown asked the Raiders to release him Saturday in an Instagram post after the Raiders voided $29.125 million in contract guarantees due to conduct detrimental to the team. He was released by Oakland later that morning, and then agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots.
Rosenhaus says the Raiders voiding his guarantees sent the star receiver over the edge.
"The Raiders protected themselves and that sent Antonio off," Rosenhaus said. "There's no question there were some bumps in the road that fractured the relationship with the Raiders, but even as recently as Friday, it looked like he was gonna be in a position to play Monday night with the team."
Brown had a long list of incidents ever since being traded to the Raiders. He dealt with extremely frostbitten feet, refused to wear a legal NFL helmet and missed multiple practices. Despite saying all the right things at first and catching passes from quarterback Derek Carr at a local park, Brown's agent makes it sound like the relationship between his client and the team was rough right away.
And of course, it's all the team's fault.
"It was a tough relationship from the get-go. Unfortunately, we got off to a really rough start with the helmet deal," Rosenhaus said. "It really upset AB that the NFL told him he couldn't wear his helmet, that he'd worn his whole career in college and the NFL, and that affected his relationship with the Raiders.
"Ultimately, there were some fines involved. It impacted his contract and his guarantees."
Reminder: These fines were self-inflicted. He didn't show up. He didn't do his job.
What Rosenhaus made clear here, too, is that coach Jon Gruden was good cop throughout Brown's time with the Raiders, while general manager Mike Mayock played bad cop.
"I think Jon Gruden was magnificent throughout this process," Rosenhaus said. "He really worked hard to try and salvage the relationship, but unfortunately with the helmet and the fines, it just didn't work out."
It sure didn't.