SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – After a series of highly-publicized conflicts, the Raiders released Antonio Brown from his contract on Saturday, and within hours he signed a new one with the New England Patriots.
Brown never played a single down of football with the Raiders. In fact, it wasn’t his choice to join the team.
He was acquired as part of a trade, which is why some experts say Brown might have created this drama to get exactly what he wanted all along – to get released from the Raiders.
“Let me ask you this. Do you want to be a Raider or not?” was the question asked during part of a YouTube video Antonio Brown posted Friday that supposedly was a recording of a phone call with Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden. The coach appears to be questioning Brown’s commitment to the team.
“I’ve been trying to be a Raider since day one,” says Brown in the video.
Sports marketing expert Bob Dorfman doesn’t see it that way.
“I have the feeling he never wanted to be here,” says Dorfman who is also the Creative Director at Baker Street Advertising.
He thinks Brown has been trying to force the Raider’s to release him – first with the YouTube video, then an Instagram post directly asking to be released, and a series of Tweets.
“I think he saw the situation in Oakland, it wasn’t favorable to him, and wanted to go somewhere where it looked like a winning franchise,” says Dorfman.
That’s apparently exactly what happened Saturday afternoon when Brown signed with the Patriots.
“He can go to New England now which is kind of a known team for picking up troubled people and turning them into stars or getting them back on track,” says Dorfman.
The Raiders fans at Ricky’s in San Leandro all had similar attitudes about the situation and told KPIX, if Brown didn’t want to wear the Silver and Black, let him go.
“It was just a joke week after week. You could see what was happening. The writing was on the walls,” says Raiders fan Cooper Stein.
“We don’t need that. I’m glad he went before we paid him,” says Rachel Fenton, a Raiders fan from South Carolina.
“You have to cut the cancer off in the beginning. With his shenanigans during training camp and pre-season and all that stuff, I knew it wasn’t going to work,” says Reggie Green, a lifelong Raiders fan.
“I really wanted to see him play, you know. I’m actually one of the ones who bought his jersey. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it now. It’s worthless now,” complained Raiders Fan Terrance Allen.
Brown’s reported deal with the Patriots is a one-year deal at $15 million including a $9 million dollar signing bonus.