As NFL teams begin to quake at the thought of Antonio Brown catching passes from Tom Brady for at least a full season, they might wonder what could have been done differently to keep him out of the reach of Bill Belichick. 

According to a recent report from Jason La Canfora, New England was Brown's preferred destination from the start. 

Belichick's pursuit of Brown dated back to his falling out with the Steelers at the end of the 2018 season. He was among the first executives to call about Brown's availability when the Steelers made it clear the perennial Pro Bowler had no future there.

When the Steelers reportedly asked for a first round pick from Belichick, he "immediately" told the Steelers that wouldn't be a problem, but before the discussions progressed, the Steelers let Belichick know that the Patriots were on a list of teams the Pittsburgh front office was not allowed to negotiate with.

According to the story, Brown's preference from the beginning was to get traded from Pittsburgh to New England, leading to him nixing a trade to the Bills and eventually forcing his way out of Oakland. The Steelers only got a third and fifth round pick from the Raiders for the four-time All-Pro receiver.

Brown eventually got what he wanted, signing a one-year deal where he could make up to $15 million in 2019. However, the pending lawsuit brought against him for rape and sexual assault leaves his future in New England up in the air. 


He's expected to play in Week 2 against the Dolphins, but with his accuser meeting with the NFL on Monday, there's a chance Patriots fans might not see him in a New England uniform for long.  

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