Free-agent receiver Antonio Brown has used social media in recent weeks as a way both to vent frustrations and mend fences. On Friday, he was using it to mend fences.
Brown posted a lengthy apology on Instagram, a broad and blanket mea culpa that, unlike most of his apologies, didn’t come in the aftermath of a social-media post in which he attacked the league, its teams, or any specific persons.
“First and foremost, I’d like to apologize to my family, friends and anyone who I offended,” Brown said. “I never once meant to make anyone feel like I wasn’t thankful and appreciative of the opportunity that I was afforded to play the game I love. I’ve worked hard over the years to earn a chance to compete in the greatest game on earth. Over the years I was met with challenges and I can honestly say I didn’t handle those challenges in the manner that I should have. Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to think about everything that’s transpired and I am deeply sorry to all who I’ve offended. While my behavior was inexcusable, sometimes when people are coming at you with false information and allegations, we handle ourselves in ways that we sometimes regret. I do take full responsibility for my actions and I’m working everyday to repair what I broke. I do know that if I’m ever given the opportunity to play the game that I love, I’m going to work extremely hard to show the world how much I appreciate another chance. To the organizations that I offended, I offer my sincere apology to you and my hope is that you forgive me and help me move on from this minor setback. I look forward to competing and helping a team reach their goals.”
Since the apology was not triggered by an outburst that he felt compelled to undo, could it be that Brown knows that an announcement may be coming later today about his status?
He met with NFL investigators 22 days ago, and he was optimistic in the aftermath of the session. Twelve days ago, Jay Glazer of FOX said that the league would need “a few more weeks” to make a decision, given that the information received from Brown required follow-up efforts elsewhere.
In September, the league launched an investigation regarding Brown under the Personal Conduct Policy, after he was sued for sexual assault. The Patriots cut him roughly a week later, and no one has signed him given the possibility that he’d be placed on paid leave.
As a practical matter, Brown has served an unpaid suspension since Week Three, without ever actually being suspended. He wants to play, and teams are believed to be interested in signing him, if/when the league provides the “all clear.”
Whether Friday afternoon’s apology was the appetizer to a league announcement that would spark a potential land rush for Brown’s services remains to be seen. But with no specific social-media eruption causing him to apologize like he has, it’s hard not to wonder whether, at some point between now and 5:00 p.m. ET, something will be coming regarding Brown’s status.