The seven-time Pro Bowl receiver requested his release after the team reportedly voided $30 million in guaranteed salary.
The Raiders granted Brown his wish and released him. Hours later, in yet another sign that one team’s problem is another team’s potential, Brown reached a one-year, $15 million deal with the New England Patriots, another team known for offering second chances to players with problems. The Patriots are far from the first team to roll the dice on a questionable player. Terrell Owens, another talented receiver, wore out his welcome in five cities on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Adam «Pacman» Jones missed an entire season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, yet has played well into his mid-30s. Sebastian Janikowski, another one-time Raider, has run afoul of the law during his long career kicking field goals. Brown, though, set a new standard because of how truncated his tenure in Oakland was, and because of how often the internal problems played out in public. In the image, Brown wore a big smile.
Reports, notably on NFL.com, said that Brown entered a cryogenic therapy chamber without proper footwear and got frostbite. Brown then refused to practice because the helmet he preferred was banned in the off-season by the N.F.L. and the players union because it, and other models, did not meet safety standards. This week Brown announced via video on the helmet-maker’s website that he had found a replacement. Brown objected anew when the team fined him almost $54,000 for failing to practice with the team, and other infractions.
He posted a photo on social media of the letter informing him of the fines. Brown and General Manager Mike Mayock reportedly argued about the fines. Gruden is heard asking Brown whether he wanted to be a Raider and if he was ready to play. The Raiders will move on without their erstwhile receiver.
Gruden told reporters he was «disappointed» things did not work out with Brown. «We did everything to make this work,» he said. That can take days.