NFL legend Jerry Rice said Monday there was something fishy going on with Antonio Brown’s departure from the Oakland Raiders and his almost immediate signing with the New England Patriots.
Rice, in a radio interview with 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, said he believes that Brown wanted to end up with the Patriots all along — even before he was traded to Oakland.
READ MORE ABOUT THE ANTONIO BROWN SAGA
“We all got played, man. We did,” he said. “I’m gonna be honest with you, because, this guy, he contacted me and he told me that he wanted to play ball here in the Bay Area. He wanted to be part of the San Francisco 49ers. So, I bought into it because I can only take a man at his word and stuff like that. But I think this, it was pretty much already planned. He had to take a different direction.”
Brown signed the Patriots hours after he was released by the Raiders. The Brown drama began almost as soon as minicamp opened up for NFL teams.
Brown was on the mend after suffering a foot injury during a cryotherapy session and he reportedly threatened to retire because he couldn’t wear his outdated helmet. He then had it out with general manager Mike Mayock and allegedly threatened to punch him in the face before turning around and apologizing to his team and putting the thought in everyone’s mind he would play for the Raiders.
ANTONIO BROWN RELEASED BY OAKLAND RAIDERS AFTER FRACTURED OFF-SEASON, REPORTED FEUD WITH GM OVER FINES, MONEY
However, Brown released a private conversation with coach Jon Gruden in a heavily produced YouTube video and, when he learned he was going to be fined for conduct detrimental to the team and lose his guaranteed money, he asked for his release in an Instagram post.
Rice said he believes Brown forced the organization’s hand in the decision to release the wide receiver.
“I think when he asked to be released from the Steelers, he wanted to go to the Patriots,” he said. “He wanted them to trade him to the Patriots. And there was no way that the Steelers would trade him to a rival. So he had to go a different route. And he decided to come through the Bay Area. And I feel sorry for the fans over in Oakland. He was a Denzel Washington and he won the Oscar. He won an Oscar, guys. I’m gonna be honest with you.”
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Brown is expected to play in the Patriots’ second game of the season against the Miami Dolphins.