With the self-destruction of the superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown back in 2019, there are a few arguments to why he should and why he shouldn’t play in the NFL, but I’ll be taking a dive into why he needs Miami, and why Miami need him.
‘He’ll bring his drama to Miami, and we don’t need that’
This is probably the biggest sticking point to why he shouldn’t play in the NFL at all, and if you are a fan of the NFL you’ll probably be aware of the things he has done. From using cuss words to Mike Mayock, getting frostbite on his toes, a sexual assault lawsuit, and more recently being arrested for battery in January this year. Therefore, it’s clear to see that the guy needs help and badly.
Now fast forward to 2020, the time of COVID-19. Since the outbreak he has been active in Liberty City in Miami, donating food, tissues, sanitiser, and masks every week. Also has been actively keeping current players of the NFL fit and game-ready including Dwayne Haskins, Steffon Diggs, Geno Smith, and a few more, all the while keeping his name out of the media headlines.
It’s tough to say if AB has really turned a corner, but the signs are there and maybe, just maybe he has learned from his past mistakes.
‘Miami has a solid wide receiver core, he wouldn’t play’
Reviewing the 2019 season, Miami had a passer rating of 80.0, making it 28th out of 32 teams. 60.3% completion percentage, 27th in the league, 22 passing touchdowns last year, making it 23rd in the league.
Their longest pass of 51 yards make Miami 21st in the league, compared to 93 yards the longest in the league by Atlanta. In total Miami do not get close to being in the top 10 in any passing category last year, and rank 27th in total yards per game according to ESPN.co.uk
Individually DeVante Parker leads the team in passing yards with 1,202 yards, then a huge drop off to tight end Mike Gesicki with 570 yards and 428 yards to Preston Williams. Williams suffered a season-ending ACL tear, Albert Wilson recovering from a hip injury in 2018 understandably had a weak 2019 campaign and would be looking to improve on it, but can that Miami take that risk and depend on it? Especially given the current pandemic, more players could be out of games from injury and now illness.
We can conclude that Miami, outside of Parker, has a fairly weak wide receiver core and is in dire need of improvement both in talent, length, and speed on the outside, especially in a pass-heavy league.
Take a glance at the Kansas City Chiefs for a great example of why speed and length are necessary. Taking the drama he brings out of it, Antonio Brown would be a massive addition.
‘He can’t be reformed or changed’
There aren’t many standing up for Antonio Brown to be back in the NFL, and rightfully so, but there is one key figure who is. 2011 Hall of Fame inductee, known to many in the game as “Prime Time”, Deion Sanders.
On his Instagram recently he described as getting lost in being “Prime” and losing touch of himself as “Deion” and even saying he was suicidal when talking to Antonio Brown. It’s a story which in parts is eerily similar to Antonio Brown’s current scenario of self-implosion, and the sad truth of what could be if left unchecked, and who is best suited to help the troubled wide receiver.
Spending time with Deion Sanders on his personal home of Country Prime, it looked like someone checking into a rehab facility for someone who knows that he needed help and a reality check, from a legend who knows what it is like to lose himself in the game, to another player who has the potential to be great.
Deion Sanders is a man who is widely respected within the league and a father figure for someone who is in dire need of one, and one who firmly believes that the comeback story of Antonio Brown is firmly underway.
‘Miami are not in shape to handle him’
In a time where the world is taking a stand on racism, Miami boasts the only team in the NFL to have both a black head coach and a black general manager, but as a team, they are quickly emerging to be one of the best player management teams within the NFL.
Coach Flores likeability from current players, and former players managed in New England, who are quick to chat with him, plus incoming players such as CB Byron Jones who chose Miami over Las Vegas who stated “That’s just something that I like and I wanted to be a part of. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him throughout the league.
I spoke to a couple of coaches and players throughout the whole process and they had nothing but good things to say about him. That’s exciting for me, just to be on a team that he’s leading.” It’s a scenario that Antonio Brown would thrive in, and being a Miami native, one that he would have immense pride in playing for.
Antonio Brown was due to earn roughly $9 Million last year when at New England, and arguably he would get a one year ‘prove it’ deal with probably a lot less than $9 Million, and would be a win-win scenario for Miami should Antonio Brown succeed in the team or not.
Whilst the saga of Antonio Brown has painted the talented wide receiver poorly, and in instances rightfully so, the prominent figure has made steps to recover from the drama and to re-establish himself in the NFL.
Many players have made a successful comeback after being out of the NFL, most recently Michael Vick. Antonio Brown would be a low cost, high risk, high reward acquisition, and one Miami would be the best-placed team to help the gifted wide receiver make a return to success.