Former NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown apparently figures if he keeps apologizing, someone will find him sincere and offer him a job.
After a first attempt at redemption a sit-down interview with ESPN last weekend, he took the tour local, doing an extended interview with 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, in which he tried to make amends for his less-than-graceful exit from the Steelers.
“I apologize to those guys for the distractions,” Brown said, via Adam Bittner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The unwanted attention I probably caused those guys. To the fans and organization. So obviously you want to clear out any baggage or disrespect or unintended attention that was brought on to the organization. You know these guys gave me an opportunity when I was 21 years old, and I’m forever grateful for those guys. To not only have the opportunity to play with those guys but be in so many amazing moments, and we’ve been through so much.
“So I’m forever grateful and indebted to the organization. Mr. Rooney. Mike Tomlin. Kevin Colbert. Ben Roethlisberger. You know I started my career with those guys. A lot of beautiful moments. A lot of amazing things. So it’s not all bad. I just think from an emotional standpoint, when stuff got bad, it just seem bad. But we got more good moments than bad.”
His departure from Pittsburgh was part of a long spiral of self-inflicted damage to Brown’s career, which included brief stops with the Raiders and Patriots, and a number of off-field issues that had some questioning his mental well-being. His recent incident in Florida with the mother of his children, which involved him yelling at cops (whom he has also apologized to recently), also led to questions about his stability. Asked about his mental state Thursday, Brown continued to perpetuate his own victimization.
“I’m pretty good man. Those guys put me in a crazy check, and I don’t even know why they did that,” Brown said. “But I just think mental health is really important. It’s really difficult for me when I can’t even go out in the public, everyone coming up to me putting their camera phone. Everyone got an agenda for what they want to get from me. What they can make off me. So it’s good to be around people and talk to people that don’t have no agenda. That can support your mental health and just listen to you. It’s not about the material things or the money. People need support. Support and love. Meaning someone they can call, people that can listen to you. And people that can give them the right encouragement without no feedback of selfishness or wanting.
“So for me, it’s about surrounding myself with people that protect my best interests, people that will work as hard as me and people that are inspired to win. I’ve always been a guy who just wanted to win. Positive guy. I don’t really have anger. I just think I’m really bored. You know, football keeps a lot of my focus. And not being able to have that thing that took my energy, that put my focus toward allowed me to be bored and react to things I wouldn’t normally react to. So for the most part, I think that’s the case. I don’t think it was a case of anger. I’m a blessed guy. I’ve got a blessed life. I’m healthy. I don’t take it for granted.”
That’s a lot of words, but Brown has been surrounded by people who tried to protect his interests (including teams which gave him chance after chance, or an agent who dropped him), and he’s regularly refused help.
The hope is that he finds what he’s looking for. The reality is he’s made it hard for NFL teams to trust him, and all the media appearances probably won’t change that.