Free-agent receiver Antonio Brown is technically free to sign with another team. But with no team willing to sign him while the league continues to investigate civil allegations of sexual assault and rape, Brown is as a practical matter serving an unpaid suspension.
And he’s apparently starting to get frustrated by his status. On Tuesday morning, Brown tweeted, “Free AB.”
Some quota-filling news about nothing percolated over the weekend regarding his desire to return to the NFL (duh) and his interest in returning to the Patriots (double duh). The impediment continues to be the investigation.
It’s still unclear when the investigation will end. At some point, the league will interview Brown. And unless he gets good advice (and heeds it) on how to behave when being interviewed for the league, he may not be free to sign with any NFL team for a while.
Whenever he’s cleared to return, he’ll likely have a market for his services, thanks both to his talent and the genetic defect that causes every coach to think he can get the most out of a troubled player. The ongoing delays in the investigative process are operating, intended or not, as a barrier to Brown being gainfully employed. Although he’s hardly a sympathetic figure, there’s a fairness component to this process that needs to be respected by the league — and highlighted by the media.