“Now that Antonio is a free agent, we are focused on the future and I will immediately work on signing him to a new team,” Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said in a statement, according to ESPN. “Antonio is looking forward to a new beginning.”
He wrote that the team “took away my [contract] guarantees.”
He added, “no way I play after they took that and made my contract week to week.”
View this post on Instagram
And that’s fine ! I have worked my whole life to prove that the system is blind to see talent like mines.Now that everyone sees it, they want me to conform to that same system that has failed me all those years. “I’m not mad at anyone. I’m just asking for the freedom to prove them all wrong.” Release me @raiders #NOMore #theyputblindersonahorseforareason #NoMoreFake
The Raiders fined Brown $215,073.53, according to ESPN.
On Friday, issued “an emotional apology” at a team meeting on Friday morning, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
Brown made the apology “with team captains standing with him,” Anderson reported.
The team reportedly “treated him like a family member” after the meeting, ESPN reported.
And now, according to reports, Brown will play in the Monday Night Football season opener against the Denver Broncos.
“That’s the plan,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden told reporters, according to The Washington Post. “That’s the plan, yes.”
“Antonio is back today. We’re really excited about that. We’re ready to move on. He’s had a lot of, obviously, time to think about things. We’re happy to have him back. I know Raider Nation is excited about that, too.”
The Raiders’ captains previously told Jon Gruden that they would back their coach’s decision on Brown at the team meeting, which was held after recent controversy surrounding the wide receiver.
According to ESPN, Brown had a confrontation with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock on Wednesday during practice. Brown reportedly initiated the discussion that led to the confrontation.
Brown was reportedly unhappy with the $13,950 fine he received from the team after he missed a walk-through on Aug. 22, according to ESPN. He was previously fined $40,000 for missing camp on Aug. 18.
It’s unclear what the future looks like, though, according to NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk.
“Whether the Raiders are willing to accept that apology or not remains to be seen. General Manager Mike Mayock, who was targeted for verbal abuse by Brown, seems ready to move on. Gruden, however, has final say in Oakland, and he may be willing to give Brown one more chance. That’s what Brown is asking for,” PFT reported.
This article was updated with the recent news that Brown was released.