NFL Rumors: Antonio Brown’s Public Apology Could Be Ploy To Return To New England Patriots

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Antonio Brown issued a very detailed public apology on social media on Friday afternoon, one that could be aimed specifically at one team — the New England Patriots.

The mercurial wide receiver took to Instagram to post a long note apologizing for his past behavior and reiterating that he wants to return to the NFL. Brown had previously used his social media presence to destroy his ties with the Oakland Raiders, going on a series of outbursts before finally using the account to demand his release with just one day remaining before the season started. Brown again took to social media after his release from the Patriots a little less than two weeks later, trashing the Boston team and owner Robert Kraft specifically.

But in his latest note, Brown used his Instagram account to offer his “sincere apology” to the individuals and franchises he offended with his behavior. He took “full responsibility” for his actions and vowed that if he got another opportunity to play on an NFL team, he would “work extremely hard” to show how grateful he was.

Brown didn’t mention a specific team, though he did tag a series of national sports outlets, along with Deion Sanders. But the post could be tied to recent reports indicating that the former All Pro could have a chance to return to the Patriots if he could convince Kraft to take him back. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports had previously reported that many of the Patriots “players and coaches would welcome him back,” though the team’s owner had the final say.

The Patriots have struggled on offense over the last month, a period in which the previously unbeaten team went 2-2. It culminated with Tom Brady’s sidelines dressing down of his wide receivers against the Houston Texans, where he appeared to shout at them for failing to get separation and an inability to get open.

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First and foremost, I’d like to apologize to my family, friends and anyone who I offended. I never once meant to make anyone feel like I wasn’t thankful and appreciative of the opportunity that I was afforded to play the game I love. I’ve worked hard over the years to earn a chance to compete in the greatest game on earth. Over the years I was met with challenges and I can honestly say I didn’t handle those challenges in the manner that I should have. Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to think about everything that’s transpired and I am deeply sorry to all who I’ve offended. While my behavior was inexcusable, sometimes when people are coming at you with false information and allegations, we handle ourselves in ways that we sometimes regret. I do take full responsibility for my actions and I’m working everyday to repair what I broke. I do know that if I’m ever given the opportunity to play the game that I love, I’m going to work extremely hard to show the world how much I appreciate another chance. To the organizations that I offended, I offer my sincere apology to you and my hope is that you forgive me and help me move on from this minor setback. I look forward to competing and helping a team reach their goals.

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It’s not clear where Kraft stands on the idea of Brown returning to the Patriots, but time could be running out on a reunion this season. Brown still faces an NFL investigation for the series of sexual misconduct allegations lodged near the start of the season, leading to the very real possibility that he could end up on the commissioner’s exempt list and facing a suspension that does not go into effect until he signs with another team. Even if the Patriots were to snag Brown this week, he may not be available to play until the end of the season or the playoffs, at the earliest.