After shedding his Buccaneers jersey and leaving Tampa Bay in one of the strangest exits in NFL history, Antonio Brown has eyes on Baltimore.
In an interview on the popular “I Am Athlete” podcast released Monday, the controversial wide receiver, and cousin of Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, was asked what quarterback was “next in line” in his career.
“Lamar Jackson,” Brown said.
“That’s who you want to play for?” asked host and former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
“Action Jackson,” Brown said. “Let’s give Lamar Jackson his flowers. … Shout out Lamar Jackson. That’s it. Lamar Jackson is a great quarterback. Not only him throwing the ball, the dynamic of him playing, the excitement.”
Jackson retweeted a video of the interview Monday afternoon, adding an emoji of a smiling face with horns, usually meant to convey excitement or mischief.
This isn’t their first flirtation. In April 2020, after video emerged of Jackson working out with Marquise Brown and Antonio Brown, Jackson was asked whether he felt the Ravens should sign the then-free agent.
“I’d be happy if they signed him,” he said of Brown, who was coming off a 2019 season in which he’d been traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to Oakland, demanded a trade from the Raiders, was instead released, signed with the New England Patriots, then was released after one game in the wake of mounting allegations of sexual and personal misconduct against him.
“He’s a great player. He showed it each and every year when he was with the Steelers in the past, but it’s not my decision.”
Ravens officials have preferred to avoid commenting on Brown, who later signed with the Buccaneers and won a Super Bowl in his first season. General manager Eric DeCosta said in April 2020 that the team’s interest level in Brown was an “in-house” matter. He added: “Those are my feelings, my personal feelings about that situation. I don’t really feel a need to share that with you all right now.”
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In July 2020, coach John Harbaugh said there was no “conversation” around signing Brown, then still a free agent, because he wasn’t “available to sign.” One day later, Brown was suspended for the first eight weeks of the 2020 season for multiple violations of the league’s personal-conduct policy.
Brown, 33, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, is the NFL’s third-leading active receiver (12,291 yards). In his second season in Tampa Bay, Brown had 42 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns in seven games. But controversy followed him throughout. In December, Brown was suspended for three games for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols by misrepresenting his vaccination status.
In Week 17, with the Buccaneers trailing the New York Jets 24-10, Brown stripped off his pads, jersey, gloves and T-shirt — tossing the gloves and T-shirt into the stands — and then walked down the sideline and into the end zone. He then waved to fans as jogged through the end zone and into the tunnel at MetLife Stadium. Coach Bruce Arians said after the game that Brown was “no longer a Buc.”
Brown later said that he was cut after refusing to play through an ankle injury that sidelined him for several weeks this season. In a statement released by his attorney, Brown said an MRI showed broken bone fragments, a ligament tear and cartilage loss “which are beyond painful. You can see the bone bulging from the outside.”
Arians said the day after the game that Brown did not claim he was injured when he refused to continue playing against the Jets. Brown, meanwhile, alleged a coverup.
“I didn’t quit. I was cut. I didn’t walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out,” Brown’s statement read.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.