Antonio Brown is burning his National Football League bridges. The Pro Bowl receiver sent out a series of tweets today saying he won’t play anymore in the NFL, targeting New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The source of Brown’s ire appears to be the bonus money he won’t collect from the Oakland Raiders and Patriots. He was scheduled to get $29.125 million in guaranteed money from Raiders and $9 million from the Patriots, with $5 million of the latter due on Monday. ESPN, citing sources, said both have been rescinded.
The troubled Brown faces legal troubles from a civil lawsuit by former trainer Britney Taylor, who has accused him of rape and sexual assault. He also was accused of sexual misconduct by another woman in a Sports Illustrated story earlier this week. He has been on three teams in the last year, being traded by Pittsburgh and released by Oakland and New England over various issues related to his conduct.
The Players Association may appeal on Brown’s behalf on the money. The Raiders guarantee was voided when the team released him on Sept. 7. The Patriots are backing off on their funding because Brown failed to tell them about the Taylor incident before signing, violating a clause which calls for a player to disclose any situations that might prevent continued availability.
The final straw for Brown’s stay in New England was a series of threatening texts sent to the Sports Illustrated accuser. He was released shortly after that exchange was revealed.
Brown also tweeted out against former friend and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, citing his four-game suspension in 2010 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy based on a sexual assault accusation. He has since deleted that tweet.
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, had previously claimed there was interest around the league about Brown’s services once his legal situation cleared.
The NFL said Friday Brown would not be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list while he is a free agent. “If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation.” The NFL also said its investigation into Brown is “ongoing and will be pursued vigorously and expeditiously.”