In relationship terms, six months is a decent amount of time. In NFL terms, it is not.
Antonio Brown lasted just shy of half a year with the Raiders, never playing as much as a preseason snap with Oakland before the team released him at his request Saturday morning. The Silver and Black made a splash in acquiring the four-time All-Pro wide receiver in March, sending just a third- and fifth-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers to acquire him.
While the Raiders and Brown seemed all-in on one another to start, the erosion of their relationship culminated with a week of epic dysfunction leading into Oakland's season opener against the Denver Broncos on Monday night. Hours after his release, Brown signed with the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The end of Brown's time in Oakland was messy, but Drew Rosenhaus, Brown's agent, doesn't think the Raiders deserve criticism for that.
"You know there are trades that don't pan out," Rosenhaus said Saturday on "SportsCenter." "Relationships sometimes get off to a bad start and never recover. Unfortunately, this one just didn't work. I don't want the Raiders to get any flak for this because I just think it was a combination of bad luck and just bad circumstances."
Stories of Brown and quarterback Derek Carr building a connection in the offseason gave way to those of Brown's frostbitten feet, two helmet grievances and an angry confrontation over a pair of fines during the preseason. Brown was none too pleased about being fined for missing practice and a walk-through, and he picked up another fine for angrily confronting Raiders general manager Mike Mayock in Wednesday's practice.
That fine allowed the Raiders to void Brown's contract, and he responded by asking for his release on Instagram. That reportedly was Brown's goal all along, and he got his apparent wish Saturday morning.
It's telling that Brown's agent is not blaming Mayock, Jon Gruden and Co. for the way things ended with his client. But that won't make Brown's departure any easier to swallow for a team tasked with trying to replace one of the best players in football.