Last Friday, after trade talks that would have brought Antonio Brown to the Bills fell apart, a narrative emerged that Brown didn’t want to play in Buffalo. On Thursday, Bills G.M. Brandon Beane pushed back.
“That pissed me off, to be candid because it was an ignorant comment,” Beane told reporters. “I’m not on social media, but if you live in Buffalo or you know anything about Buffalo -- don’t speak about Buffalo if you don’t know what this city and what this fan base is like. It really pissed me off because it’s not true and when you talk to players -- how many guys flowed through here today? Eight, nine, whatever, and we could have had more.
“We didn’t have that narrative, it totally started with a bad rumor on the whole Antonio Brown thing. People looking for reasons, and they didn’t have all of the facts. Again, people that have been here, I can’t tell you how many people have commented, ‘This is amazing. This is awesome. What a facility. What a place. What a culture.’ All of that stuff that we have going here and we love this city and all I want to say is anybody who says that doesn’t know Buffalo and really is just speaking out of ignorance.”
The comments come at a time when the Bills have done a nice job of attracting talent players to town, beginning the process of building around a budding franchise quarterback in Josh Allen and laying the foundation to be highly competitive in the AFC East, after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finally retires -- and possibly before.
Indeed, the Bills made it to the playoffs in 2017, for the first time in a generation. Last year, they deliberately took a step back with the goal of making a major leap forward, building a team that could soon become a playoff contender on an annual basis and that could perhaps at some point finish a job that was started nearly 30 years ago before being unintentionally abandoned for a couple of decades.
With a quarterback who had a solid season that was largely overlooked amid the exploits of Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, the Bills are laying the foundation for something potentially special. The idea that Brown regarded Buffalo as an undesirable destination, if true, doesn’t mesh with the reality that the Bills may be far better positioned that Brown’s new team to compete in a suddenly deep and star-filled conference that has a growing list of top-flight teams that has yet to include the Bills.
As soon as this season, the Bills could force their way into that conversation, and Brown may end up wishing he’d climbed aboard wagons that could soon be circling as effectively as they did in the early ‘90s.