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The NFL has come to a decision regarding Antonio Brown. The league announced Friday that the free agent wideout will be suspended without pay for the first eight games of the 2020 season.
The 32-year-old’s suspension will begin Week 1, even if Brown is not on an NFL team. The NFL can extend Brown’s suspension depending on what happens in Brown’s civil suit, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
Antonio Brown's eight-game suspension takes effect Week 1, regardless of whether he's on a roster -- and could be extended if further violations are found related to an ongoing civil suit in Florida, per source.
So AB is sidelined at least through Week 8, and potentially longer
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 31, 2020
Brown has not played in the NFL since Week 2 of last season. He played one game with the New England Patriots before the team cut Brown amid rape and sexual misconduct accusations. Brown was also arrested in January following an incident with a delivery driver. Brown was charged with battery and burglary. He pleaded no contest and received two years probation.
On July 22, Brown asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to conclude the league’s investigation. Shortly after the Patriots released Brown, Goodell told every NFL team Brown would be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list if he signed. The league intended to keep Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list until it completed its investigation.
Antonio Brown welcomes news, will not appeal suspension
Brown’s agent — Ed Wasielewski — announced Brown will not appeal the suspension. Wasielewski said Brown was “excited to resume his outstanding football career.”
The NFL has reached its decision to suspend my client Antonio Brown @AB84 for 8 games. Antonio accepts this decision and will not appeal. He is excited to resume his outstanding football career and is looking forward to playing in the 2020 season.
— Ed Wasielewski (@ed_waz) July 31, 2020
Brown confirmed that with a Friday night Instagram post welcoming the suspension as a chance to move on and eventually resume his football career.
Will an NFL team sign Antonio Brown?
From 2011 to 2018, Brown was one of the best receivers in football. Things changed quickly once he left the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brown feuded with Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden, eventually getting himself released before the team’s first regular-season game. Brown also argued with the league over wearing a new helmet.
Brown was picked up by the Patriots, where he lasted one game before he was cut after being accused of sexual misconduct.
Despite that, Brown has draw interest from Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Brown and Jackson threw together in the offseason, and Jackson has lobbied for the Ravens to sign Brown. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he respects Jackson’s opinion, but didn’t go into specifics regarding whether the Ravens would take a look at Brown.
Should a team sign Brown, the wideout would be eligible to take part in preseason activities. Once final rosters are set Sept. 5, Brown’s suspension will begin.
If the Ravens were to sign Brown, and Brown was cleared to return after missing 8 games, Brown’s first game back would come against the Patriots.
Is this Antonio Brown’s last chance in the NFL?
If a team takes a shot on Brown, it could be Brown’s last chance to stick in the NFL. In its statement Friday, the league said Brown is still expected to “continue his program of counseling and treatment,” and must cooperate with clinicians. The league also warned that Brown would be subject to even harsher penalties if he violates the personal conduct policy again.
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