Antonio Brown may have signed for the New England Patriots, but he “had a lot of options” following his release from the Oakland Raiders, according to his agent.
Brown’s turbulent offseason with the Raiders, which included fines for missing mandatory practice time and a walkthrough, as well as a reported altercation with general manager Mike Mayock, culminated in him being let go.
While the Patriots have not confirmed an agreement, the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver’s agent Drew Rosenhaus said he overlooked interest from elsewhere to sign a one-year contract worth up to $15million.
“Antonio had a robust free-agent market and certainly had a lot of options,” Rosenhaus told ESPN. “But it was hard to compete with New England and that amazing opportunity, that great franchise, and play with one of the all-time greats, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick.”
Rosenhaus insisted Brown understands what is expected of him in New England and is ready to “fit in”.
“I’ll just tell you that the Patriots are obviously a very solid, strong organisation,” Rosenhaus said. “They do things the Patriots way. They expect everyone to be accountable. They don’t make any exceptions.
“I’ve discussed this with Antonio. And he wants to be a Patriot. He’s prepared to go there, fit in, work hard, be like every other player on the team, do what’s asked of him, do his job and make it work. He’s honoured with the opportunity and he’s looking forward to taking advantage of it.”
While some are wondering how Brown’s stint with the Raiders went so wrong, Rosenhaus blamed “bad luck and just bad circumstances”.
He said: “You know there are trades that don’t pan out. Relationships sometimes get off to a bad start and never recover. Unfortunately, this one just didn’t work. I don’t want the Raiders to get any flak for this because I just think it was a combination of bad luck and just bad circumstances.
“A lot of people focus on the last couple of months of dysfunction and things with Antonio. But what people should remember is that for eight years, he was one of the most rock-solid players in the league – on and off the field. I just don’t want people to lose track of that.”
Brown celebrated his Patriots deal by posting on Instagram a cartoon of himself in a Patriots uniform sitting on a huge pile of cash. In the image he is also holding a phone in one hand and a wad of bills in the other, while behind him in neon lights is a sign reading: “Business is boomin”.