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COOK: Don't believe hype, Antonio Brown won't join Baltimore Ravens — or any other team

RON COOK
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)
Former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown, seen above in a file photo. has suffered a series of issues in recent years, both on and off the field.

Antonio Brown said he wanted to play for the New Orleans Saints when they brought him in for a tryout in December. They asked him not to bring an entourage to the workout. He brought one, anyway. The Saints said no thanks.

Brown said he wanted to play with just one quarterback in 2020: Tom Brady. That pipe dream ended quickly after Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “It’s not going to happen,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said. “No, I know him and it’s not a fit in our locker room.”

Now, Brown says he wants to play for the Baltimore Ravens. He posted a photoshopped picture of himself on Snapchat over the weekend in a Ravens uniform. A bit premature? Absolutely. But more than that, it seemed like a desperate move by a desperate man who craves attention almost as much as he craves a new team.

Well, the football world noticed.

Fascinating reaction: The reaction has been fascinating.

Some actually believe Brown-to-the-Ravens could happen.

They point to an early-April video that showed Brown working out in Florida and not practicing much social distancing with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Brown’s cousin, Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. “I’d be happy if we signed him,” Jackson, the NFL’s MVP last season, said of Brown. “He’s a great player. He shows it each and every year. … But it’s not my decision.”

They point to how Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta did nothing to quell the speculation that followed. He didn’t speak directly about Brown when asked about him after last month’s NFL draft, but he did say, “We’re always assessing the players out there on the streets. If we think there’s a guy out there who fits us, who’s got the skill set to provide value, we’ll certainly pounce on that kind of guy.”

They point to how the Ravens still need a receiver despite selecting Texas wideout Devin Duvernay in the past draft. The team received “A” draft grades from most observers, but many in Baltimore wanted the team to take a receiver in the second round instead of Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins.

They also point to how Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti is not afraid to make a controversial hire. He appeared on the verge of bringing in Colin Kaepernick before the 2017 season until Kaepernick’s girlfriend posted a racially charged tweet that portrayed Bisciotti as a slave owner.

A strong case, right?

Not buying it: Sorry, I’m not buying it — even though, I must admit, it would be terrific to watch Brown line up against the Steelers twice a year. Wow! That would be great fun.

But Brown won’t play again in the NFL.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The Ravens were harshly and deservedly criticized for supporting running back Ray Rice in March 2014 after news broke that Rice had punched his girlfriend in the face. It wasn’t until September of that year, after a video was revealed that showed Rice knocking out the woman in an Atlantic City elevator, that the team released him, effectively ending his NFL career.

Ravens won't take chance: Does anyone seriously believe the Ravens would take a chance on Brown, who is facing a number of troubling criminal and civil legal issues, including allegations of rape and sexual assault?

There is just no way.

Brown also has been accused of sending threatening text messages to one of his accusers. He cursed the mother of three of his young children in January with the kids watching, despicable behavior that was recorded on Instagram video. He was arrested later in January for allegedly assaulting the driver of a moving truck.

The NFL’s investigation into Brown’s abhorrent actions remains ongoing with the league apparently in no hurry to bring it to a conclusion. He is expected to get a lengthy suspension once a team signs him — if a team signs him.

The Ravens have a strong team as it is, co-favorites along with the Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC in the 2020 season, should there be a 2020 season.

The Ravens don’t need Brown and the headaches he will bring and cause.

No team should want Brown.