Antonio Brown posted on Instagram on Friday saying he was looking to the future. The post came just hours after the NFL announced that the receiver had officially been suspended for the first eight games of the 2020 season.
“I look forward to new beginnings. I want to be the best version of myself on and off the field, and I will do my best to be a great teammate,” Brown wrote in his post. “I appreciate the NFL giving me the opportunity to continue to work on myself and improve.”
He added that he was taking the opportunity to get back into the sport as something he was going to be thankful for heading into the fall of 2020. Brown also said he was excited to join his new team soon.
The idea that the official news of the suspension might allow Brown to finally find a new team was something NFL analysts floated not long after the ruling. The receiver reportedly got some interest from various teams over the last few months, however, it doesn’t appear as if the interest turned into actual contract offers, largely because no one knew whether or not he’d be allowed to return to the field in 2020.
Most recently, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson expressed interest in playing with Brown this season. When Jackson’s head coach was asked what he thought about signing the oft-troubled former Pro Bowler, John Harbaugh said he was always open to adding talent. He added that the catch with Brown was he didn’t know if the receiver was actually available to be signed.
When the eight-game suspension was first announced, there were some who misconstrued it as a punishment that wouldn’t take effect until Brown signed with someone. That could have meant that he’d miss a larger part of 2020 if he signed mid-year. It was later clarified that he will only have to sit out at the beginning of the season, whether he’s on a roster or not. That means he can return to the field officially in week 9.
In his social media post, Brown made it clear that if he does get another shot, he’s going to make the most of it. Using the hashtag #AB2.0, he said he’s going to reward whoever offers him a deal, as well as his fans by putting up the best year of his career.
Prior to 2019, when he played in just one game for the New England Patriots and caught four passes, Brown had posted six straight 100 catch seasons. That streak included leading the league in 2014 and 2015 with 129 and 136 catches respectively.