Antonio Brown

NFL rumors: Russell Wilson 'would love' Seahawks to sign Antonio Brown

NFL rumors: Russell Wilson 'would love' Seahawks to sign Antonio Brown

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on both of us.

But what about a fourth or fifth time?

It appears Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wants to find out. Controversial receiver Antonio Brown wore out his welcome with quite a few teams in rather short order, but according to 710 ESPN Seattle's John Clayton, Wilson isn't deterred by any of that.

"It’s pretty clear the Seahawks want to run the ball even more this year,” Clayton wrote Friday. “They have loaded up at tight end and tried to stay big along the offensive line. But it’s not out of the question for the Seahawks to add another wide receiver. According to sources, Wilson would love to add Antonio Brown. Brown is also close with backup QB Geno Smith, whose one-year contract with the Seahawks was finalized Wednesday."

There's no denying Brown's talent, but why Wilson would expect him to act any differently in Seattle than he did during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders is anyone's guess. At no point since the Steelers decided he wasn't worth the headache has Brown proven himself capable of fitting into an NFL locker room. He has clashed with coaches and players on the field, and gotten into plenty of trouble off of it as well.

As Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio explained, even if the Seahawks were to sign Brown, there's no guarantee he would ever be able to play for them.

"Of course, Brown can’t play for anyone until a trio of pending Personal Conduct Policy investigations have concluded," Florio wrote. "From last September’s lawsuit alleging sexual assault and rape to alleged harassment of another female who made claims against him to SI.com to an incident with a moving-truck driver that resulted in an arrest and multiple charges, Brown could be facing a significant suspension before he’s permitted to play again."

Given Brown's reputation, combined with the presence of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, it really doesn't seem like he would be worth the trouble for Seattle. Of course, it's possible Wilson views himself as the right leader to get the most out of Brown. Then again, we've heard that before.

[RELATED: Report: Seahawks agree to deal with former 49ers RB Hyde]

It's a flashy name and, yeah, Brown and Wilson theoretically could work wonders together. But he is far more likely to do more damage than good, and for that reason, the 49ers and the rest of the NFC West shouldn't be worried one bit.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Raiders better off with Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards than Antonio Brown

Raiders better off with Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards than Antonio Brown

The Raiders spent last offseason dreaming of what their new souped up offense would look like. An aerial attack directed by Derek Carr and spearheaded by offseason additions Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams had some dreaming one of the top offenses in the NFL would reside in Oakland and then move to Las Vegas.

That never happened. Brown ran some routes in parks for Carr and spent a little time on the practice field. Then he froze his feet, threw a fit about a helmet, threatened to fight Mike Mayock, privately recorded a phone call with Jon Gruden and released it on Instagram and then demanded his release without ever playing a down for the Silver and Black.

The high-octane offense Gruden spent all offseason drawing up went to the back of the binder for another day. The Raiders' offense went from rocket ship to razor scooter overnight. While Gruden was able to design an offense around the personnel he had, the Raiders struggled mightily in the red zone, failed to generate big plays and ranked 24th in scoring.

In a word, woof.

So, through no fault of their own, the Raiders entered the offseason and the 2020 NFL Draft with a massive need for a wide receiver and skill players in general who can make things happen with the ball in their hands.

Enter: Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards and Lynn Bowden.

Gruden and Mayock focused their draft efforts on putting rocket fuel in their offense's tank.

Ruggs' 4.27 speed isn't just flashy track speed. He plays that fast in and out of every break and never slows down. He's not John Ross or Darrius Heyward-Bey. He's a unique offensive weapon capable of running by, around and through NFL defenses. Teams will have to focus on making sure Ruggs can't get the ball with an inch of space because if he sees daylight, he's gone.

In Edwards, the Raiders found a 6-foot-3, big-body receiver who excels at leveraging his huge frame and making contested-catches. Like Ruggs, Edwards is a YAC monster, averaging 7.6 yards after the catch in college, good for fifth in the class behind four first-round receivers. He'll give Carr a big slot to target and move the chains with and a guy to throw jump balls to on the outside.

Bowden, a versatile athlete out of Kentucky, will enter as a running back but will be tabbed as the "joker" in Gruden's offense. The Raiders will look to find any way they can to get him the ball to see if he can make things happen.

Those rookies will join Williams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow to create a passing attack with the potential to be even more potent than the one dreamed up with Brown.

The Raiders' passing attack is, in fact, better off now than it was a year ago when it was dreaming of Brown jumping into The Black Hole.

Brown's a Pro-Bowl talent. No doubt. One Gruden surely wishes he had the chance to see in action, turning his concepts into highlights on Sundays. That didn't happen. It's a "what-if" Gruden will have to live with, but the Raiders are in a better spot now.

Disregarding the fact that he's a total wild card and his narcissistic behavior distracts from team goals and is a general life suck to his team, Brown also entered last season at age 31. He was in the twilight of his prime, while the Raiders were in the infancy of a rebuild under Gruden and Mayock. Even if Brown has maintained his All-Pro level play for two or three more years, that still barely lines up with the Raiders' rebuilding timeline. Add in the fact that he was set to be paid a shade under $15 million a year.

Now, if we include the fact that while supremely, Brown was a ticking time bomb who could detonate at any time and destroy a season -- as the Raiders learned -- and the value of having him goes down, especially when the team isn't Super Bowl ready, yet.

In his place, the Raiders added three rookies who are dynamic with the ball in their hands and should enter their prime as the rebuild nears its completion.

Ruggs will be a factor immediately on the outside, inside, on sweeps, screens and whatever else Gruden spends the summer drawing up. Game-changing speed is necessary in today's NFL and now the Raiders have a missile of their own to go to war with the Kansas City Chiefs of the world.

Edwards gives the Raiders a perfect complement to Ruggs. A strong, physical receiver who can go over or through defensive backs to make big plays. Someone who can pluck a wayward thrown ball out of the air and turn a 6-yard slant into a 45-yard catch-and-run.

[RELATED: If Gruden is right, Arnette can go from "reach" to steal]

In fairness. we're looking at this on paper. Projecting what the Raiders rookies can be. The ceiling is in the stratosphere for Ruggs and Edwards, but NFL history is littered with the bones of receivers with similar talent levels who couldn't turn raw talent into NFL production.

Brown's track record is well-documented. We've seen him torch NFL defensive backs for years while becoming one of the top receivers in the game. But in sports, often the stars must align perfectly in order for a partnership to work.

By the time Brown arrived in Oakland, his wheels already were coming off. Mike Tomlin had kept a lot of the issues under wraps, and try as he might, Gruden couldn't placate the troubled star.

He won't have that problem with his new chest of weapons. A young group hungry and motivated to taste NFL greatness and explode onto the scene in Las Vegas.

The Raiders might always wonder what could have been with Brown. Life is full of dreamed scenarios that never materialize.

But the new reality for the Silver and Black's offense might be even better.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

Clelin Ferrell discusses Antonio Brown's Raiders exit, Mike Mayock tiff

Clelin Ferrell discusses Antonio Brown's Raiders exit, Mike Mayock tiff

The Raiders went through a roller-coaster prior to the beginning of last season, and Antonio Brown was the one driving the lead car.

The All-Pro wide receiver highjacked training camp, with everything from frostbitten feet to multiple helmet grievances taking the spotlight off a Raiders team looking to take a massive leap in Year 2 under coach Jon Gruden. Brown's tenure ended in silver and black ended before it ever began, with a training camp blowup with general manager Mike Mayock and a guerilla-style Instagram video serving as the catalyst for his release prior to Week 1. 

The Raiders never discussed Brown much after their Week 1 win over the Denver Broncos. But with all that in the rearview mirror now, defensive end Clelin Ferrell discussed the altercation between Brown and Mayock for the first time Wednesday on ESPN's "First Take."

"I was just kind of thrown off by it," Ferrell said. "Obviously, you see the stuff in the media but when Antonio was in the locker room, he was the chillest dude. I had never really seen that side of either of them, so I was just kind of caught off guard, and was like, 'Woah! What's going on here?' They had a really good relationship. Obviously, the three of them -- Antonio, Mike and coach Gruden -- they always had a good relationship. I was just kind of caught off guard, but grown men gonna be grown men and have disputes sometimes."

Brown reportedly called Mayock "a cracker" and threatened to punch him. The star receiver was released and signed with the New England Patriots, but his stay in Foxboro lasted just under two weeks, as Brown was released after sending threatening messages to a woman who accused him of making unwanted sexual advances towards her in a story for Sports Illustrated.

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The Raiders entered training camp with Brown, Tyrell Williams, rookie Hunter Renfrow, tight end Darren Waller and veteran J.J. Nelson looking to give quarterback Derek Carr the most dynamic supporting cast he's ever had. Brown's abrupt exit changed all of that, and the Raiders' offense eventually suffered from the lack of a true No. 1 receiver.

The Silver and Black got by on guts, grit and an "us against the world" mentality through the first 11 weeks, hitting mid-November at 6-4 and in the playoff hunt. But their holes and injuries were too much to overcome and they limped to a 7-9 finish.

Ferrell knows that if Brown hadn't gone nuclear, things could have different. But he hopes his former teammate can get through the rough patch he's going through.

"When you feel like you got Antonio Brown at his best, the sky would have been the limit for us offensively," Ferrell said. "Just been a guy who is top five in receiving yards and touchdowns every single year. Would have did his thing. When all the different stuff happened with everything going on, that was tough on us. As a team, we just want to be quiet.

"Especially with 'Hard Knocks,' there was already so much attention and to have all this other stuff added in, it was kind of tough on us. But I feel like at the end of the day, we just want the best for him because he did go through a lot, so no matter the disarray or dysfunction he has caused, you just want to see him get back to who he was."

[RELATED: Raiders' draft position has Mayock set up to hit home run]

The Raiders left Brown in the dust and are forging ahead without him as the franchise heads to Las Vegas.

They still have a massive hole at wide receiver, one they likely will address in the 2020 NFL Draft. Cornerback and defensive line also are big needs.

The Silver and Black also hope Ferrell can take a leap in Year 2. The No. 4 overall pick struggled at times during his rookie season, but a light bulb came on in the second half. If he can harness and build off a strong second half, the Raiders should be able to improve on last season's success.