Antonio Brown's talent made him one of the NFL's brightest stars. But his off-the-field antics have clouded his skills, placing him in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The fallout led the wide receiver to sit down with ESPN's Josina Anderson to discuss all the drama surrounding his life and career.
Brown starts by humbly issuing an apology to the NFL.
"I think I owe the whole NFL an apology and my past behavior," Brown said. "I think I could have done a lot of things better."
Their conversation comes just two days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated that the league's primary concern regarding AB is his wellbeing. He also assured the public that the NFL is committed to helping Brown get back on "the right track."
"The first thing for all of us is to think about the well-being of Antonio, to understand what Antonio's going through," Goodell said at the annual Super Bowl news conference on Wednesday. "We don't talk about the wellness of our players publicly, but I would tell you that you can be sure that the NFL and the (NFL Players Association) have a tremendous amount of resources that are available to all players. They're going to be made available to Antonio. We want to help get him on the right track and get him in a position where he thinks he can be successful in life."
Goodell's comments gave Brown hope. After several run-ins with the law, sexual assault accusations, and publicly denouncing the NFL and NFL teams, it would be easy for the league to justify turning its back on AB, and he's fully aware of that.
"I was pleased to hear that after 140 days that there was some positivity about me because as of late I've just been the cancer of the NFL," Brown continued. "The problem child, the guy who gets in trouble, the kind of guy who has the bad narrative about him." Despite this optimism, Brown is still leery of putting his faith in the NFL. When asked if he truly believes Goodell's comments, AB replied: "I'll believe it when we see it."
There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Brown's mental health during this downward spiral. Some fans and analysts have gone as far as to suggest that the wideout suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) due to repeated blows to the head. Those that believe point to a now-infamous hit from linebacker Vontaze Burfict during a 2016 playoff game that almost knocked Brown unconscious as one of the catalysts for this mood-altering brain disease.
Brown answered "nah" when asked if he believes he has CTE or that the hit impacted his behavior. "[I]f I had CTE I wouldn't be able to have this beautiful gym, I wouldn't be able to be creative. I wouldn't be able to communicate. He didn't hit me that hard. You know, I got up and walked off the field. We won the game. I was all right. You play the game long enough, everyone get hit hard."
Along with apologizing to the NFL, Brown also expressed remorse for how he has behaved toward the Hollywood Police Department in Florida. The same day his ESPN interview was published, AB took to Instagram where he posted a picture of officers in the department. Under the photograph, he apologized to them from the "top and bottom" of his heart.
"To everyone who I may have offended or Disrespected at the @hollywoodflpd Of the state of Florida, I would like to sincerely give you all my apology from the top and bottom of my heart," Brown wrote. "And as a human being and an professional athlete ￼I can honestly say that my emotions truly did cloud my better Judgment, When you all were only there to help me. Thanks to you all who sincerely accept my Sincere apology."
Brown has had multiple encounters with the Hollywood police since being released from the Patriots. He's broadcasted profanity-laced outbursts directed towards the police via his Instagram Live. He was also arrested a week before his apology on charges for felony burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, and criminal mischief. Brown has since been released and was freed from home release on Tuesday for these charges. But, he has to check in with court personnel daily.