Note: This will be a non-Cowboys weekly post to talk about many other things around our favorite sports league, the NFL. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it!
It's been a wild ride for Antonio Brown since the 2018 season. Having solidified himself as one of the best wide receivers in football, Browns' antics off the field have made his career take some widely unexpected turns. The first surprise arrived in his departure from Pittsburgh. Many within-the-walls things happened that led to Brown leaving the team that drafted him in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, including some sort of beef versus Ben Roethlisberger and skipping practice before an important week 17 matchup that the Steelers needed to win to have a shot at the playoffs.
Some even say JuJu Smith-Schuster winning the team's MVP award heavily contributed to AB's fallout with the team. It was simply an odd situation. Long before the 2019 season, Brown was sent to the Oakland Raiders in exchange of a third and a fifth round draft pick, less than what the New England Patriots had offered.
In Oakland, a new-beginning was supposed to take place for Brown. Little did we know, Brown would burn his feet in cryotherapy, throw a tantrum over the league not letting him play with his old helmet, skip practice and then complain about being fined for doing so. And it doesn't stop there. He reportedly almost got into a fight with General Manager Mike Mayock and punted the ball while yelling “fine me for that!”
No, that's not it yet. He posted a controversial video that included a recorded call with Head Coach Jon Gruden a night before asking the Raiders to release him on Instagram… which they did moments later.
Hours later, it was confirmed that the Patriots had agreed to terms with the controversial receiver. Definitely not a surprise considering what I mentioned above about Bill Belichick offering more than the Raiders had to the Steelers. Now everyone is wondering whether or not Brown will work out in such a locker room.
My guess? He will. Like them or hate them, there's no better culture in the NFL than the one they've got over in New England. The “Patriot Way” is really a thing and they won't deal with Brown's tantrums if he decides to throw one, which I doubt. It's another high-risk, high-reward investment for a Super Bowl ready team.
Will he buy in and be a program guy? I don't doubt it one bit. In fact, I personally believe this was pretty much planned by Brown and his agent. I don't think the Patriots had anything to do with it, but it seems like a fact that he didn't want to be in Oakland and was looking for a way out before it was too late. Well, he found it. And although I believe he'll be successful with the Patriots, I'm not a fan of how things turned out.
Brown did what he wanted to and got what he wanted. Quite a message for talented NFL players. What surprises me the most is that Brown didn't have these kind of issues when he started out his career. What happened along the way?
Three-And-Out: 3 Quick Thoughts
- The Cleveland Browns got off to an ugly start as they lost to the Tennessee Titans 43-13. Many will try to make you believe that “the Browns still stink” when really, they don't. Penalties were a huge problem for them in the season opener, but they're still a talented football team that has a chance of winning the AFC North. I do, however, wonder about their offensive line.
- Did we underestimate Deshaun Watson even when talking about how underrated he was? What a performance by the Houston Texans quarterback on Monday Night Football. They lost the game, but Watson was on fire, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns. The shocking thing, though, was how he managed to score a touchdown with a minute left on the clock in only two passes. A quick, lead-changing 75-yard drive. It's a shame the defense gave up the FG that gave the New Orleans Saints the win. What a game!
- The Jacksonville Jaguars definitely had a promising roster to be serious contenders. Their defense might be as talented as it was in 2017 and they were supposed to have a quarterback for the season. However, Nick Foles fractured his clavicle and has been placed on IR. You hate to see it. I really wanted to see how Foles did in Jacksonville. It could've been a career defining year for a QB we haven't figured out yet.
Player of The Week: WR Sammy Watkins, KC Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are back in business. It didn't take long for them to prove it as they dropped 40 points on the Jaguars' blunted defense. Sammy Watkins stole the show by catching all three of Patrick Mahomes' touchdowns. He hauled in nine catches for 198 yards!
I believe Watkins will change how many perceive him this year. Overpaid? Perhaps, but he's still a very talented receiver.
Underdog of the Week: Tennessee Titans
The Titans opened the season on the road against the most hyped-up team in the NFL: the Cleveland Browns. They were a 5-point underdog in Vegas and ended up winning by 30. I love what Head Coach Mike Vrabel has been able to do with the Titans when they are big underdogs. Last season he even managed to defeat the Patriots 34-10.
Rookie A.J. Brown had 100 yards in only three receptions. Marcus Mariota threw three touchdown passes to begin what will be his most important season yet.
College Football Corner: Michigan Is Better Than That
Finally, a thought on College Football. I'm shocked by Michigan's struggles. They opened their season with a 40-21 win over Middle Tennessee in week 1 and followed it up with an upset alert escape versus Army in week 2. West Point took Michigan to two overtime periods in the Big House as they lost 24-21. The Wolverines remain undefeated, though. They're a strong team that could finally beat Ohio State for the Big Ten, but early struggles haven't lived up to the expectations. Their offense hasn't been as up-tempo as advertised in the offseason. I wish they change that soon. This could be a special team.