Pending investigation continues to make Antonio Brown return unlikely, for now

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Three days ago, receiver Antonio Brown made it clear he’d like to return to the Patriots. Reporting since then has confirmed that Brown is willing to re-sign with the Patriots. (Apparently with Brown, you can’t really trust what he says.)

None of it matters, of course. Although Brown is essentially throwing every piece of furniture from a 14th-floor balcony in the hopes that something hits the target, teams continue to be reluctant to sign him while the NFL’s investigation regarding civil allegations of sexual assault and rape remain pending, given the possibility that the league promptly would place Brown on paid leave until a final decision is reached.

Even without that impediment to his return to the NFL, a New England reunion remains a longshot. Apart from the lawsuit that would have kept the team from signing him in the first place if it had been filed before the deal was done, Brown’s threatening texts sent to a second accuser resulted in his release from the Patriots, and his subsequent Twitter attack on Patriots owner Robert Kraft presumably vaporized the bridge.

But he’s still supremely talented, and supreme talent buys plenty of second and third (and umpteenth) chances. If/when the NFL clears him to return, someone will sign him. It may happen later this year, it may happen next year (keep an eye on any team that potentially employs Todd Haley). At some point, it likely will happen.

Still, a lot would have to happen for it to happen in New England.

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