Now that the proverbial dust has settled on the Antonio Brown/Oakland Raiders drama, ending with him being released on Saturday and almost immediately agreeing to a contract with the New England Patriots, we’re getting confirmation of what many of us have suspected: Brown engineered the whole thing.
‘Accelerate his release’
On Sunday morning, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Brown’s multiple posts on social media over the last several days were pointed.
“Antonio Brown during the week actually sought advice from social media consultants on how he could accelerate his release from the Raiders,” Mortensen said. “This all started with him releasing the letter from [Oakland general manager] Mike Mayock that he was being fined.
“He put that out on social media, which led to the confrontation” with Mayock.
Wednesday’s Instagram story, in which Brown posted the letter from Mayock detailing that he’d been fined nearly $14,000 for skipping the team’s pre-game walkthrough on August 22, was just the first of several: on Friday night he posted a tightly-produced video that included audio of a phone conversation between himself and Raiders coach Jon Gruden that said “Free me!”
On Saturday morning there was a rambling Instagram caption that ended with “Release me.”
Not long after, Oakland acceded to his demand.
‘There was a robust market’
Mortensen also affirmed what Drew Rosenhaus, Brown’s agent, claimed - that despite all of the drama, there was strong interest in the the receiver.
“Rosenhaus said there was a robust market for Antonio Brown - he’s not lying,” Mortensen said. “I checked around, there were teams seriously interested. Russell Wilson was kind of campaigning for him in Seattle because he worked with [Brown] in L.A. in the offseason and at various times, and yes, Cleveland Browns. John Dorsey, the general manager there, he’d consider anything.
“But what they all found out was this was pretty much a fait accompli,” that Brown would wind up with New England, Mortensen said. “[Bill] Belichick actually offered a first-round pick to the Steelers, [general manager] Kevin Colbert wanted more, but really didn’t want to trade him at all, and went on and took the third and fifth from the Raiders.”
Understandably, Pittsburgh did not want to trade Brown to another AFC North team or its AFC rival, the Patriots, earlier this year, but Brown’s apparently highly-coordinated temper tantrums got him what he wanted.
More from Yahoo Sports: