On July 10, 2017, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a card to then-Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to wish him a happy birthday. The player-turned-rapper has since posted a photo of this card on Instagram, adding in a question. "What's changed Rodger," he asked in the caption.
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As the photo showed, Goodell told Brown that he was now a first-round pick and that he should "make us proud." This followed a season in which the receiver had caught 101 passes for a league-leading 1,533 receiving yards.
Instead of being known as a former sixth-round pick out of Central Michigan, Brown was viewed as one of the best wide receivers in the league. There were even discussions taking place about whether or not he could chase down Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and become the league's all-time leading wide receiver in yards, catches, and touchdowns.
More than two years later, Brown is no longer in the NFL amid an investigation into allegations of sexual assault and rape. He was released by the New England Patriots prior to week 3 of the 2019 season and has been out of action ever since. The New Orleans Saints brought him in for a workout prior to the playoffs, but he did not ultimately sign with the team.
During this time, Brown has created headlines with multiple social media posts directed at the NFL, his previous teams, and Goodell. This includes posting a comment by the NFL commissioner about the investigation into Brown, along with a caption that said to "stop lying."
In the eyes of those that commented on Brown's post, he is the one that changed over the two-plus years since receiving the birthday message from Goodell. They see this time away from the NFL as being self-inflicted.
"You acted like an idiot and ruined a great career," one user wrote.
Another said that Brown needs to "stop the drama" because the fans just want him to play football.
With the Divisional Round of the playoffs taking place in a matter of days, it's highly unlikely that Brown will be making a return to the NFL prior to the 2020 season. Two of the top options to sign him (Eagles, Saints) have both been eliminated after losses to the Seahawks and Vikings, respectively.
Running out of options will leave Brown in Miami asking about what's changed. The fans and critics alike will respond by saying that he is the one to blame.
(Photo Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty)