Raiders release Antonio Brown, Patriots betting favorites to land him

Raiders release Antonio Brown, Patriots betting favorites to land him

Ask and you shall receive. Antonio Brown is no longer a member of the Oakland Raiders.

The seemingly endless Brown drama heated up again Saturday when the mercurial receiver asked the team to release him in a post on Instagram. The Raiders had fined Brown more than $215,000 for conduct detrimental to the team and in doing so had voided $29 million in guarantees on his contract.

Brown's wish was granted a few hours later.

Speculation as to Brown's next destination has increased as his relationship with the Raiders crumbled this week. The Patriots are now the betting favorite to land him.

The Patriots, of course, have a history of bringing in troubled players to try and reestablish productive careers, the latest being oft-suspended receiver Josh Gordon.

NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran weighed in on the Brown saga earlier this week and the Patriots' possible interest. 

The release comes after a drama-filled day in which the receiver apologized for a profanity-filled verbal altercation with GM Mike Mayock a day earlier. Coach Jon Gruden then said he expected Brown to play in the Raiders' Monday night opener at home against the Denver Broncos. Then, late Friday, Brown posted a YouTube video that included a recorded phone conversation between himself and Raiders coach Jon Gruden. 

An eventful training camp included Brown unable to participate at first because of frostbitten feet from cryotherapy and then objecting to a new NFL rule that prevents him from wearing his old-style helmet and having his grievance with the league seeking to use his old headgear denied.

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Bucs GM describes Tom Brady's 'incredible effect' on organization

Bucs GM describes Tom Brady's 'incredible effect' on organization

The bar has been raised in Tampa Bay with Tom Brady officially in town.

For 20 years in New England, Brady brought the best out of his Patriots teammates and galvanized the organization with his winning mentality. Now, the six-time Super Bowl champion will look to prove he can do the same in a Buccaneers uniform.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht was a player-personnel executive with the Patriots in 2002 and from 2009-11, so he's familiar with the positive impact Brady has on the rest of his team. Friday, he appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio to share how Brady will set a new standard in Tampa.

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“It’s [an] incredible effect on the entire organization and team that goes beyond the players, too,” Licht said. “And as far as the team, they’re gonna know what the standard is now, and he’s going to bring the best out of everybody.

“You don’t realize it until you leave — I left New England — and you go to other organizations. I went to some great organizations, went to the Super Bowl with some other organizations, but it’s still not the same as being around Tom Brady. Just the effect that he has on everybody, bringing the best out of everybody.

“But not only players, it goes for coaches, it goes for coaches, it for front office, it goes for the business side. I mean, he’s just … everybody has to have their A-game at all times.”

Brady's new teammates are itching to get to work with their new QB. Wide receiver Mike Evans called it "surreal" to have the 42-year-old under center, while another of Brady's weapons, Chris Godwin, welcomed him to Tampa Bay and gifted him his No. 12. 

Former Patriot Nate Ebner says Tom Brady will do his trash talking quietly

Former Patriot Nate Ebner says Tom Brady will do his trash talking quietly

Is Tom Brady a trash talker?

Former New England Patriots defensive back Nate Ebner says so. Well, kind of. 

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"He'll jab a little bit, but he's going to talk his smack quietly," Ebner told Bob Papa and Charlie Weiss on SiriusXM NFL Radio's Opening Drive Friday, as transcribed by Sports Illustrated's Jackson Thompson. "He usually lets his play handle it for him, [but] he'll say some stuff at the end of the day."

Ebner, of course, knows a little too much about Brady's smack-talking after spending eight years with the quarterback in New England. In fact, Ebner, an Ohio State alum, and Brady, former Michigan QB, have a nice little bet throughout the college football season. If Michigan defeats Ohio State, then Ebner has to wear Wolverines gear, but if OSU defeats Michigan, then Brady has to put on some Buckeyes gear. And it's been OSU gear for TB12 the past seven years. Ouch.

Last year, when the Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines again, Brady and Chase Winovich had to sport some Ohio State gear after losing the bet -- at least they were good sports about it. 

With Brady off to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ebner heading to the New York Giants, it's only a matter of time before the trash-talking, and their bet, resumes.