Lamar Jackson, the newly minted No. 1 player in the NFL, wants the Baltimore Ravens to add controversial superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown.
The Ravens had one of the NFL’s best offenses last year. Jackson was dynamic as both a passer and a rusher, accounting for over 4,300 total yards and 43 touchdowns, with just six interceptions. Mark Ingram kept rolling as one of the NFL’s most effective running backs, making for a dangerous tandem on the ground with Jackson, while young pass catchers Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews turned in big years as well.
Throwing Antonio Brown in the mix would make the team even more dangerous. Brown only played in one game for the New England Patriots last year, in the middle of what was an incredibly tumultuous year. He forced his way off the Pittsburgh Steelers, reportedly nixed a trade to the Buffalo Bills, wound up with the Oakland Raiders where he had a bizarre preseason for the ages, and wound up signing with the Pats after being released. Sexual assault allegations cost him that chance to play with Tom Brady, and his future in the NFL is still ultimately up in the air, which is likely the biggest reason why he remains unsigned.
Even with those concerns, Lamar Jackson would love for his team to add the four-time All-Pro. “It was nice throwing to Antonio Brown,” he said Wednesday, after working out with the receiver during the offseason. “I was hoping we would get him. I’m still hoping — a little bit.” Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was asked about the comments today, and wouldn’t rule anything out.
John Harbaugh on Lamar Jackson's endorsement of Antonio Brown: "Hey, I respect him for feeling that way. I respect his opinion on it. … We'll look at any players at any time."
But he adds, critically: "I don't think he's even available to sign."
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) July 30, 2020
That last part is a crucial one. Brown is frustrated that the NFL hasn’t yet finished its investigation into the sexual assault allegations made against him last fall. Any team that adds him has to be concerned that he’ll face a lengthy suspension, on top of the tough PR hit that a team would take for signing the controversial figure.
Even so, teams appear to be kicking the tires on him. He’s also worked out with Seattle Seahawk quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Geno Smith this offseason, and he’s reportedly on that team’s radar as well.
Antonio Brown could really improve any NFL offense, but as he said in his own cryptic message just over a week ago, “At this point the risk is greater than the reward.” That may prove true for teams as well.