Antonio Brown pleads no contest in truck driver battery, receives 2 years probation

Antonio Brown, still an NFL free agent, is past at least one legal hurdle after pleading no contest on a truck driver battery case from January.

Appearing masked in a remote courtroom on Friday, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star changed his plea from not guilty and was sentenced by a judge to two years probation, orders to undergo a psychological evaluation, a 13-week anger management course and 100 hours of community service, per TMZ.

Brown is allowed to travel nationwide, which is necessary if he wants to play in the NFL anytime soon.

Brown was facing three charges in the case: felony burglary conveyance, misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor criminal mischief.

In the incident, it was alleged that Brown and his personal trainer Glenn Holt refused to pay a $4,000 fee to a moving company that was delivering items from California to Brown’s home in Florida. The driver claimed Brown threw a rock at the moving truck then attacked the driver, and said in a 911 call that Brown was high during the incident and had smoked something in front of him.

Dashcam footage showed Brown walking up to the driver, grabbing him and sparking an altercation. After reportedly locking himself in his home and refusing to cooperate with police, Brown eventually surrendered to authorities.

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown looks on before the start of a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on September 15 2019. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Antonio Brown avoided jail time on a battery case. It's still unclear when we'll see him on an NFL field again. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Brown reportedly declined to speak with reporters after pleading no contest. His attorney later released a statement characterizing the altercation as a “misunderstanding” and said Brown looked forward to resuming his NFL career.

That last part might be easier said than done.

Path back to NFL still rocky for Antonio Brown

While Brown no longer has the battery charges hanging over his head, the former All-Pro still has a significant obstacle to clear before he can reach an NFL field again.

The truck driver battery is just one of the accusations that have hit Brown in the past two years, and the NFL is still figuring out what to do with him. Among the most disturbing charges is a rape accusation from Brown’s former trainer levied last September.

The NFL has since signaled it is focusing on Brown’s mental health with its investigation, but the threat of a pending suspension or trip to the commissioner’s exempt list still looms for any team that wants to sign him. More mental health evaluation and treatment could ease the road for Brown, but this is still a man who has spent month after month broadcasting a “buyer beware” message for teams kicking the tires.

The day before pleading no contest, Brown seemed to imply on Instagram he could soon find his fourth team in the span of two years, and posted a video of himself working out with Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

Brown has also been seen working out with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins and Seattle Seahawks backup quarterback Geno Smith.

The Ravens have been seen as an intriguing destination for Brown thanks to their employment of his cousin, 2019 first-round pick Marquise Brown, and Jackson’s endorsement of bringing in the team’s former rival. Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has been less publicly enthusiastic about the idea though, blowing off a question about interest in Brown.

Brown has burned bridge after bridge with his former teams and displayed unstable behavior going back to his time in Pittsburgh. He is without question one of the best receivers of his generation — averaging 1,524 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns between 2013 and 2018 — but will be 32 by the start of next season and could be a constant distraction, or worse, for whichever team that wants to give him a second (or third, or fourth) chance.

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