Antonio Brown's disastrous 11-day tenure in New England begs an obvious question: Why did the Patriots sign him in the first place?
Brown's talent is obvious, but you'd think a discussion among Patriots staffers would raise the same red flags that caused the Oakland Raiders to release the wide receiver days earlier.
According to The Ringer's Ryen Russillo, that discussion may not have happened. On his podcast Monday, Russillo suggested Bill Belichick didn't consult other members of the organization before calling Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who has a strong working relationship with the Patriots head coach.
"From what I've heard, Belichick just did this completely on his own,” Russillo said on The Ryen Russillo Podcast.
" ... When Brown was (cut by the Raiders), Rosenhaus calls Bill [and says], ‘Let’s figure this out,’ and Bill’s like, ‘Done.' But Belichick didn't consult anybody else and just did it."
Belichick has taken flyers on troubled cast-offs before, but the Patriots made a substantial investment in Brown, offering him a one-year, $15 million contract with $9 million guaranteed.
It's hard to believe Belichick would hand out this kind of money without explicit approval from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, but Russillo suggested there wasn't much (if any) dialog between the two.
"Apparently Bill didn’t talk to anybody else about how he structured the deal and treated Brown like he was just a normal guy who was a high-profile free agent,” Russillo continued. “So instead of doing a roster bonus -- let’s just call it $750,000, or $1 million a week when you’re on the 46-man (roster) and ready to go to make sure you’re invested in this whole thing -- that’s how it should have been treated.
"And other people around the league were like, ‘Man, that’s a really weird way of doing this,’ and that’s apparently what Bill just did. Bill got with Drew, trusted Drew and just went ahead and gave him this deal."
Belichick's trust obviously backfired. Brown was accused of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit just four days after signing with New England -- the Patriots reportedly weren't aware of the allegations -- and reportedly sent "intimidating" text messages to a second woman accusing him of sexual misconduct.
NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran addressed the Russillo report on his Patriots Talk Podcast. The discussion begins at the 7:30 mark:
Those text messages were the final straw for the Patriots, who released Brown last Friday. Kraft also was "enraged" by the text message incident, per a report, so if there's merit to Russillo's report, the Patriots owner probably isn't happy with his head coach for bringing 11 days of Brown drama to New England for little gain.
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