Antonio Brown NFL return rumors: ‘Genuine’ interest in WR as he plays for Albany Empire, agent says


Antonio Brown hasn’t played professional football since Week 17 of the 2021 NFL season, when his mid-game temper tantrum in the Buccaneers vs. Jets game got him released by Tampa Bay.

The former All-Pro is set to return to the sport on Saturday as he suits for the National Arena League’s Albany Empire on Saturday.

That may is certainly a massive step down in competition for Brown. So, why is he playing? Well, the 34-year-old is the majority owner of the Empire, so his participation in a home game is likely being used as a gimmick to sell tickets.

MORE: How Antonio Brown became Albany Empire owner, “came in and killed” franchise 

But Brown’s agent claims it’s more than that. JR Rickert told CBS Sports that there is “genuine” interest among NFL teams in signing Brown to give him a shot at an NFL comeback.

“He is exploring the right fit,” Rickert said of Brown.

It’s hard to believe that there’s any truth to these rumors. Brown’s storming off the field in his final game with the Buccaneers was seen as a death knell for his career. It came after a years-long saga of erratic behavior that saw him traded away from the Steelers, released by the Raiders just months after being acquired and cut by the Patriots after less than two weeks with the team.

MORE: Antonio Brown’s timeline of trouble, from Steelers trade to Buccaneers release

Brown’s irregular antics have continued since his NFL exit, and one needs only to look at the Empire’s struggles in 2023 as an example. He has already fired two coaches in two months with Albany and cut eight players, including starting quarterback Sam Castronova, after a road loss against Jacksonville.

As a result, the Empire have lost four consecutive games and are tied for last in the NAL ahead of Brown’s debut.

Even despite this, Rickert is confident that an NFL team will take a chance on Brown, and he seems to believe that Brown would take a return to the league seriously.

“I think that he is a multi-talented individual who does everything at a high level,” Rickert said. “And whatever he commits to, he goes all in.”

MORE: Antonio Brown tweets picture of himself in Ravens jersey

Of course, Rickert is Brown’s agent, so it’s his job to sell his client to potential suitors. But in reality, it’s simply hard to imagine a team giving the troubled wide-out another chance.

He has simply burned too many of them over the five years.

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