Just say NO to Antonio Brown

Sports media is once again fascinated with Green Bay Packers’ wide receiver depth chart.

Last week, Devin Funchess chose to opt-out of the 2020 season. I discussed how the team brass is comfortable with their depth chart and expect great things from their young receivers. In press meetings this week, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Matt LaFleur all mentioned Allen Lazard and have great expectations for the rising star.

That isn’t enough for some in the national media, who feel like the Packers can’t compete without a big-name threat like Antonio Brown. Not too long ago, Brown was the best wide receiver in the league, but the mighty have since fallen. With Brown’s recent history and the risks involved, the Packers should want nothing to do with him.

In the last few years, Brown has had his share of interpersonal and legal troubles, which have been discussed at length elsewhere, and though he officially retired earlier this season, it doesn’t seem set in steel. Regardless of intent to play or not, Brown faces an eight-game suspension from the league, something any team interested in him will have to deal with. In a season that very realistically could be shortened, this isn’t ideal.

There is a chance that Antonio Brown could come in mid-season, build a rapport with Aaron Rodgers, and ball out. He still has star power and showed some of that skill off in his brief stint with the New England Patriots last year. It’s unlikely, but these controversial moves CAN work out.

But the 2020 season already has so many gray areas; we still don’t know how the COVID-19 pandemic will shake out, let alone how it will affect the NFL. Teams are still learning how to cope with the changes as they arise. Players need to take the quarantine rules seriously for a season to happen at all.

Rodgers, Adams, LaFleur, and Kenny Clark all talked about how they trust the leaders of the team to keep their teammates accountable. Players need to avoid taking unnecessary risks like going into crowded environments or risking party environments. The leadership of this Packers team is strong, and Green Bay is probably in a better situation to avoid exposure than many other teams thanks to its skilled leadership and small-town environment. But could Antonio Brown, with his many off-field issues, really be trusted to cooperate and follow the rules?

If Brown’s patterns of lack of self-control continue, he could put the entire team at risk of COVID exposure. There’s a lot of trust what would need to be put into someone that, from an outsider’s perspective, hasn’t earned it. The Packers have always been about “Packer People” and heavily scout character in their acquisition, and Brown doesn’t seem like Packer People.

Better to trust those in charge, who have much more data than we outsiders do, and believe in the offensive players we have. Green Bay has better weapons than many think, and the stage is set for them to prove it. If the team decides to add a different veteran at the position, that’s fine. But adding Antonio Brown isn’t worth it.

Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.
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