NFL

Don’t let Deion Sanders make you feel bad for Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown will need more than just Deion Sanders to navigate his NFL comeback

If Antonio Brown wants to make an NFL comeback, it’s going to take a lot more than some advice from Deion Sanders.

Sanders is mentoring Brown as he attempts to rehab his image and get his life back in order enough to return to the NFL. Whether or not that actually happens is yet to be determined, but it’s a step in the right direction for Brown.

It doesn’t, however, instantly erase all of the negativity Brown created in his spectacularly destructive downward spiral out of football.

Antonio Brown might return to the NFL in 2020, but his image is tarnished

Sanders flamed out in short order with both the Raiders and Patriots and has been out of the league since September of last year. The reason for Brown wearing out his welcome in Oakland had more to do with being disruptive on the field and in the locker room — amplified by the fact that HBO cameras were there for Hard Knocks.

But Brown’s problems since leaving Pittsburgh have been off the field too, and much more serious than just being a distraction with his antics. The Patriots released Brown shortly after signing him when Britney Taylor filed a lawsuit alleging against him alleging three instances of sexual assault. A warrant was put out for his arrest in January of this year for a separate incident involving the assault of a moving truck driver, for which Brown eventually turned himself in and plead not guilty.

Even when he was still with the Steelers, but at the end of his tenure, the wheels started to come off. Brown was sued for allegedly tossing furniture out of his 14th-floor apartment window in April and nearly hitting a 22-month old child on the patio below. He was also cited for speeding in excess of 100 mph around this time, which is an afterthought given the laundry list of other nefarious things Brown got into over the past year.

The NFL has a long history of looking the other way when talented players have trouble off the field. On a long enough timeline, sins are forgiven if a player can help a team win. Brown is still one of the most talented receivers in the game until proven otherwise, which is why there are rumblings of teams preparing to offer him a contract for the 2020 season.

Watching Brown in the NFL is something fans might have to do next year, but feeling sorry for him isn’t.