Ideally, Antonio Brown gets back on a football field, plays a game, and we can stop speculating about when he’ll actually take the field. As much as I loathe spending copy on AB, his most recent news stories have been about football. At least, they’re supposed to.
In mid-May, Brown said he would suit up for the AFL Albany Empire, the team he is part owner of, on Saturday May 27th for their game against the Fayetteville Mustangs. Though he practiced with the team and even the Empire website touted Brown’s return, selling an increased number of tickets, Brown did not participate. He cited a paperwork issue over his physical, though the AFL Commissioner said Brown had the authority to override the problem. The Empire were blown out, 49-27, falling to 1-5 on the year.
Now, Brown says he’ll suit up for the Empire’s next home game on June 17th. He said as much to WNYT’s Roger Wyland in an interview posted to the station’s YouTube channel earlier Thursday.
“Yes, I’m going to play,” he said when asked if he’d suit up on the 17th. “We’re trying to bring a celebration to the stadium. Celebrate the Black community. So I’m definitely going to play June 17th. We’re going to have a big celebration for Juneteenth.”
The 17th is a contest against the Jacksonville Sharks. Albany’s upcoming game is June 9th but takes place on the road and it appears Brown wants to make his AFL debut – assuming that actually happens – in front of the home crowd.
In the same response, Brown seemed to cite equipment issues as the reason he didn’t play this past weekend. Since then, the Empire fired their fourth head coach of the season, promoting DC Terrence C. Foster to interim head coach. He’ll be bringing in a new OC as Ben Bennett, who previously held that post, has also left the team.
The Empire, like Brown, have been marred in controversy throughout the year. Issues with payments of players, issues of players paying restaurants, and a revolving door of head coaches on top of all the drama Brown has brought.
This time, Brown promises he’s not selling a bill of goods to the fan base and vows to play the next home game.
“We’re not selling false information,” he said. “We’re not telling people that we’re going to do something we’re not going to do. We hold ourselves responsible for everything we say or do.”
Brown says he’ll soon be on the field. Of course, he’s said that before. He’s said a lot of things before. Stay tuned.
If you want to subject yourself to it, you can watch the entire interview below.