By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Antonio Brown's Oakland run, which came to end on Saturday morning after a grand total of zero regular season games with the Raiders, might just go down as one of the most legendary in NFL history.
It was that insane.
Acquired from the Steelers in exchange for a pair of draft picks, Brown arrived to training camp on a hot-air balloon (people forget this, which speaks to just how nuts it all was) and then... did anything but get reps with his new team.
Brown's first delayed start in Oakland was because of an issue with his feet. This, for what it's worth, proved to be more than legit, as Brown posted a picture of the issue on his Instagram (I do not recommend Googling the pictures of his feet unless you're cool with never eating or sleeping ever again). Looking blistered to absolute hell, it was revealed that the injuries were actually suffered from not wearing the proper shoes during a cryotherapy session. In other words, the 31-year-old froze his own feet for not considering the proper footwear to be worn when becoming Mr. Freeze.
Then came Brown's month-long fight with the NFL over his helmet.
Wanting to stick with the helmet he had worn for his entire career up to that point, Brown refused to cooperate with the NFL's demand that he switched to a new, league-approved helmet. He even tried showing up to Raider practice with his old Pittsburgh helmet spray-painted silver. Surprisingly, this didn't work for him. Brown then threatened to retire if he was not allowed to wear his old helmet, filed two grievances to wear his old helmet, lost them both, and then finally came to terms with wearing a new helmet on Sept. 4. A whole 26 days from his original grievance.
Then things got real.
Unhappy with Brown's unexcused absences from an Aug. 22 walk through and practice sessions throughout the helmet drama, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock fined Brown over $54,000. This came after Mayock was somewhat critical of Brown in August, too, saying that they needed to know if Brown was going to be "all-in or all-out" on the Raiders' plans. But rather than pay the fine and move on in an attempt to show his general manager his understanding, Brown instead decided to post a picture of the notice of his fines to Instagram, saying, "When your own team wants to hate but there's no stopping me now. Devil is a lie. Everyone got to pay this year so we clear @Raiders."
Brown then confronted Mayock publicly the next day, reportedly calling him a "cracker" and threatening to assault him. Per reports, Brown had to be held back from Mayock, and ended the altercation by punting a football and telling Mayock "fine me for that." When Vontaze Burfict, who is known almost exclusively for his temper and cheap plays, is the one playing peacekeeper and trying to tell you that you're out of line or holding you back from a potential altercation with your boss, it may be time to reassess where you're at in your personal life.
The incident with Mayock, which came just five days before Oakland's season opener against the Denver Broncos, prompted plans to suspend Brown indefinitely.
The marriage seemed over, as Brown then unfollowed the Raiders and Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on Instagram. (This guy LOVES Instagram, in case you haven't been able to pick up on the theme here.)
But Brown returned to the team facility the next day, and issued an emotional apology to his teammates, and seemed ready to leave all of the drama behind and start the season on the right, not-frozen foot. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden even went as far to say that the plan was now for Brown to indeed play in the team's Monday Night Football opener.
Finally, peace in Oakland.
For all of a few hours at least.
With everything calmed down, Brown went back to Instagram and posted a highly-produced hype video that featured a recording of his phone conversation with Gruden asking him what the hell was going and if he wanted to be a Raider or not. Brown said that he indeed wanted to be a Raider and that he was working harder than everybody else to do that. It was a definitely strange video, but Gruden didn't seem to have any issues with being recorded, and called it "awesome."
View this post on Instagram
With all these false narratives antagonizing me, it’s time for me to control my own narrative. Show the world I’m not the bad guy. Show the world you can free yourself from the lies and become your own person. I am not just AB the football player, I am Antonio Brown, the person, who paved a way for himself to be in charge of his own life. Watch for yourself. Link in bio. Free me! ???? @ale.sticktalk
But just hours later, Brown went back to Instagram and demanded a release from the Raiders. He tagged them in the post, too, essentially letting some poor social media manager know that it was their job to release him from the team.
That demand from Brown came as a result of additional fines from the team for conduct detrimental to the team, and after the Raiders successfully voided the $29.125 million in guaranteed money that was slated to come Brown's way this season. From Brown's talk with the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, it was the last part that was the final straw for him.
An explanation for why #Raiders WR Antonio Brown was so upset, from AB to me: “Told me do not come in Thursday. Bad my name. Then come work, give two papers after the press conference. No guaranteed no way."
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 7, 2019
Brown's once-again public complaints were enough for the Raiders this time around, too, as the team finally cut ties with the talented-but-troubled wideout just hours after his Instagram post.
Maybe now we know why the Steelers were willing to take on $21 million in dead-money just to be rid of Brown.