Troubled wide receivers Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon could be getting another chance in the NFL.
On the heels of the Seahawks’ blockbuster Jamal Adams trade with the Jets, head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider are keeping a close eye on Brown and are “very open” to a reunion with Gordon, both of whom are high-risk former Pro Bowlers with complicated pasts.
“What I’d say to you is what we always say, because it’s what we always do and who we are,” Carroll said on Monday when asked by reporters about the prospect of adding Brown. “John [Schneider] is competing at every turn. There’s never been a process, unless we just missed it, that we weren’t involved with to understand what the chances were of helping our club.”
Last season, quarterback Russell Wilson urged the Seahawks’ front office to sign Brown before the team claimed Gordon off waivers, and in July, Brown posted an Instagram video working out with Wilson that ignited speculation that the free agent could be headed to Seattle.
The 32-year-old is a seven-time Pro Bowler and has caught 841 passes for 11,263 yards and 75 touchdowns through 131 regular season appearances. The fallen star has been out-of-work since September, however, following his release from the Patriots (the third team he played for in less than a year) amid allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
Since then, Brown has been embroiled in a number of scandals that include erratic Twitter tirades, ephemeral retirements, long-time agent Drew Rosenhaus severing ties with him, an alleged assault of a truck driver, trashing a luxury condo and a domestic incident involving his ex-girlfriend Chelsie Kyriss where he threw a bag of gummy penises at her and police.
Last week, he was dealt an eight-game suspension a week removed from his latest retirement drama. Brown’s new agent, Ed Wasielewski, says that they will not appeal the ban.
“Antonio accepts this decision and will not appeal,” Wasielewski tweeted on Friday. “He is excited to resume his outstanding football career and is looking forward to playing in the 2020 season.”
“[Schneider is] all over it,” Carroll said. “He understands what’s going on right now, as much as you can. It’s a very complex situation [with Brown]. We just need to see where it fits somewhere down the road. That’s all I got for you.”
Despite a checkered history, Brown offers high upside and will likely find at least one interested party. The Ravens and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson are another potential suitor.
Gordon’s NFL future is unclear. His undeniable potential and talent have been eclipsed by numerous relapses with illegal substances that long predate his NFL career.
Gordon entered the league as the Browns’ supplemental draft pick back in 2012 after dealing with multiple suspensions in college and run-ins with the law at a young age. He served a two-game suspension in 2013 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse-policy, the same season he was named first-team All-Pro, and was suspended for almost all of the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons before his release from Cleveland in 2018.
Gordon had a brief stint with the Seahawks during the 2019 season after he was placed on the Patriots’ injured reserve and waived. He appeared in five games for the team and caught seven passes for 139 yards before he was hit with another indefinite suspension (his fifth drug-related suspension).
“It’s not in our hands,” Carroll said. “Josh did a really good job with us last year. He fit in really well. He was part of this team by the way we opened and embraced his coming to us, but also by the way he adapted. So we are very open to that thought and we’ll see what happens. I don’t know. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen on that.”
The 29-year-old will have to apply for reinstatement, which the league has rejected in the past.