By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
I say this with all the seriousness in the world: it seems like Antonio Brown is enduring something that goes well beyond football.
There's no need to speculate any further on any personal issues Brown might be dealing with at the moment. For now, let's assume Brown's problems in Oakland are strictly about the football operation. And from a football standpoint, the Raiders' superstar receiver has gone off the deep end. At this point, a literal dumpster fire outside Mike Mayock's office wouldn't surprise anyone.
The Raiders GM has begun taking drastic measures with Brown's laundry list of antics, which has ranged from the innocuous (arriving to camp in a hot air balloon) to the irrational (that whole helmet deal) to the bizarre (botching a cryo-chamber session and getting frostbite on his feet). Mayock sent Brown a letter informing him that he would be fined for missing multiple mandatory team activities, and the receiver responded by posting the letter to his Instagram story with some captions that come off as nothing short of unhinged.
Now, as first reported by Adam Schefter on Thursday, Mayock is planning on suspending Brown after the latest incident. He and Brown reportedly had a heated exchange that included teammates separating the two and Brown punting a football in anger.
Mayock expanded upon the situation in a press conference on Thursday ... that lasted 14 seconds. And actually expanded upon nothing.
Well, this is your AB non-update. pic.twitter.com/qscZEeIyke
— Jimmy Durkin (@Jimmy_Durkin) September 5, 2019
Per multiple reports, the Raiders may be on the verge of suspending Brown for Week 1 of the 2019 season. The major detail there is that a suspension would void over $30 million in guaranteed money for Brown, who signed a three-year extension worth up to $50 million with Oakland in March. Undoing that much money would essentially mean the Raiders intend to move on from Brown entirely.
There's even been speculation that Brown doesn't want to play football anymore. Besides his helmet, none of his issues seem to stem from football reasons. If Brown truly wants to keep playing, one would figure he'd at least attend practice, certainly not risk getting suspended and losing his guaranteed money.
It's possible that Brown is going through something much more serious personally, and he might even need to step away from football. Something is clearly missing for Brown, whether it's a desire to play or more stability away from the field. Until that comes to light, this feels more like one of football's all-time greatest clown shows.
With each passing controversy, it's become more and more clear why the Steelers were willing to take just a third and fifth-round pick and eat a massive cap hit just to get rid of Brown. Of course his act ended up in Oakland. There's no better location for NFL lunacy, and right now Brown is the poster child.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].