Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown said Friday he's looking forward to his next NFL opportunity after the league announced he's received an eight-game suspension to open the 2020 season because of multiple violations of its Personal Conduct Policy.
Brown posted a statement on Instagram after the NFL's announcement:
"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. I appreciate the NFL giving me the opportunity to continue to work on myself and improve.
"I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity to play a game that I truly love and I look forward to joining a new team soon. Thank you to my family and all those that have supported me. I will show the fans my appreciation for this second chance by having the best season of my career."
The league confirmed the seven-time Pro Bowl selection is eligible to sign with any team and could participate in training camp before the suspension formally begins Sept. 5 ahead of Week 1.
"As part of the discipline, Brown was directed to continue his program of counseling and treatment, and that he is expected fully to cooperate with his clinicians," the announcement read. "Brown was advised that any future violation of the Personal Conduct Policy will likely result in more significant discipline."
The 32-year-old Miami native previously hinted on Twitter he was planning to retire from football, but apparently his stance has changed with the NFL's decision now finalized.
Brown last played for the New England Patriots in September. He made one appearance for the Pats before getting released amid allegations of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct and intimidation.
Britney Taylor, his former trainer, accused him of rape in a federal lawsuit filed in September. Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated then reported on an additional allegation of sexual misconduct toward another woman, who then reported receiving intimidating text messages from the phone number she previously used to communicate with Brown after the initial article's publication.
He'd been released by the Oakland Raiders just before the start of the 2019 regular season after conflicts with general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden. His tenure with the team lasted six months.
Brown was previously one of the NFL's most dynamic playmakers with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was named first-team All-Pro four straight years from 2014 through 2017 and led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards two times apiece.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has mentioned on multiple occasions over the past few months he'd like the team to consider signing the star wideout.
"It was nice throwing to Antonio Brown," Jackson told reporters Wednesday about their offseason workouts together. "I was hoping we would get him. I'm still hoping, a little bit."
Brown could attract significant interest with the NFL investigation now settled. Not only is he a true No. 1 receiver, an asset several clubs including the Ravens could use, but the number of teams needing another proven target could increase as players opt out of the 2020 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He'd be eligible for activation after the team's eighth game, which would put him on a path to make his season debut in mid-November.