On Friday, former Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown opened up about his recruitment to the USFL. On the Full Send Podcast, Brown revealed that Tampa Bay Bandits head coach Todd Haley had offered him a roster spot. Despite the opportunity, Brown declined, with his immediate response being “f*** outta here.”
Haley had only become the Bandits’ head coach the day before. Colin Cowherd announced the first four of eight USFL coaches on his show, although a Twitter leak spoiled some of the information. Haley was previously the Steelers’ offensive coordinator, and spent six seasons with Brown (2012-2017). During that span, Brown became one of the NFL’s best receivers, and Pittsburgh was a powerhouse in the AFC.
Brown was recently cut by the Buccaneers following a meltdown at MetLife Stadium. During the third quarter of Tampa’s week 16 game against the Jets, Brown got into a heated argument with both coaches and players. Shortly afterwards, he took his jersey off and went to the locker room, waving to fans as he exited. He never returned to the field, and ultimately never returned to the team.
More information about the bizarre event was unveiled in the following days. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told the media that Brown refused to go into the game, and although Brown acknowledged this, he added that the team was trying to make him play through a painful injury. Brown insists that Arians was aware of everything going on, even releasing private text messages to prove his point.
The career of Antonio Brown doesn’t come without controversy, and as a result, it’s turning into somewhat of a marketing campaign. Shortly after Brown talked about the USFL, multiple sources claimed he was finalizing a deal with Fan Controlled Football (FCF). However, he would be joining the league as a coach instead of a player. FCF posted a poll asking whether or not Brown should be given the position, confirming they were interested.
No additional news has broken yet, but the story is one to monitor closely. Many public figures already have connections with FCF, including current NFL players (Austin Ekeler, Richard Sherman, Dalvin Cook, etc.), YouTubers (Deestroying), and musicians (Quavo). If Brown were to tag along, it wouldn’t be as big of a surprise to alt. football fans. Regardless of what happens, both the USFL and FCF have gotten publicity through Brown, which is one of the few positives to take away from this saga.
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