Following a weekend in which Antonio Brown convinced the Oakland Raiders to release him for "conduct detrimental to the team," the NFL world is left dealing with the fallout. Fans and media members alike are simply trying to figure out exactly what happened. Is Brown really that crazy, or was this all a ploy to trick the Raiders into letting him go to the New England Patriots?
In the eyes of Hall of Famer and former Raiders and 49ers wide receiver, Jerry Rice, this departure from Oakland was part of a masterful performance by the wide receiver. In fact, he believes that Brown was channeling one of the greatest actors of all time when he was having this "meltdown" during his final days in the Bay Area.
"He was a Denzel Washington and he won the Oscar," Rice said during his appearance on 95.7 The Game. "He won an Oscar, guys. Imma be honest with you. Because he had all of us sold. Then all of a sudden, you started to get all of this drama, what was happening with the Raiders. First of all, the helmet. Then you had him getting into it with the GM. So there was a lot going on, but the Raiders decided to release him, and the Patriots were waiting to pick him up."
Given the news that broke over the weekend, Rice's point is very valid. Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that the former Raiders receiver had actually contacted social media consultants for ideas for forcing his release from the team. The first option was posting Mike Mayock's fine letter on the internet, which kickstarted the days of drama and on-field confrontations.
Of course, the social media strategy didn't end there. Brown also released multiple videos on YouTube in which he painted himself as a villain. One was a conversation between himself and head coach Jon Gruden while the other was a reaction to the news that he had been released. In both videos, Brown made it appear that he was being held down by the Raiders and that all he wanted was to be free.
Ultimately, Brown got what he wanted, along with a $9 million signing bonus from the New England Patriots. He is now on a Super Bowl contender instead of a team amid a massive rebuild. If Rice is correct about the entire trip to Oakland being a performance to land with the Raiders, there is no denying that Brown is worthy of an Oscar.