Antonio Brown looked like he was out of the NFL about a year ago. Now, Brown is a Super Bowl champion with a legitimate place to call home.
Brown made sure his teammates and the Bucs’ organization knew how thankful with a heartwarming post on Instagram:
Grateful words from Antonio Brown on Instagram tonight … pic.twitter.com/yDI7T88GDG
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 15, 2021
Brown dramatically changed his career around, but it couldn’t have happened without those around him. The Bucs’ embraced him, Brady recruited him, and Brown made the most of his opportunities. Brown had racked up numerous records and filled the stat-sheets throughout the 2010’s, but a Super Bowl trophy had always eluded him.
Well, that’s no longer the case, and Brown couldn’t be happier about it.
Antonio Brown and Tom Brady Develop A Special Connection
From Brown’s post, you can tell that Brady had the biggest influence on him, not only in helping him revive his career, but also in helping him get his life back on track.
Brown was involved in a lot off-the-field drama which ended up defining his stints with the Las Vegas Raiders and the New England Patriots. However, Brady believes in second chances, and he saw one with Brown.
In fact, Brown’s strong relationship with Brady started back in New England. At the time, Brady even offered to have Brown move in with him. The legendary Patriots quarterback was thrilled to have a weapon of Brown’s caliber on a relatively weak offense, but after just one game, the Pats had seen enough.
Brady never gave up on his dream though. He once more offered to have Brown live with him and pushed his case hard towards head coach Bruce Arians.
“Brady lobbied me back in, gosh, June, July, August,” Arians had to say. Moreover, the Buccaneers signed Brown to a “prove-it” one year contract, laden with incentives. These included postseason victories, targets, catches, among other things.
Brady knew about this, and he made sure that Brown received every penny of his contract. In the final regular season game, Brown need 11 catches to reach his target of 45 to cash in on an extra $250,000.
With just two minutes left in the game, instead of running the ball out, Brady flipped Brown a couple of easy passes to ensure Brown met his incentive.
Brady shovel passes to Antonio Brown at end of game pic.twitter.com/r5AaHRVT7B
— Viral Sports (@NotScTop10plays) January 4, 2021
That pop pass from Brady to Antonio Brown was his 45th catch of the season — triggers a $250,000 incentive for him. https://t.co/kVbGc6BT0a
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) January 3, 2021
Brady’s Influence Ran Deep On Brown
Brown had a lot to say about the seven-time Super Bowl champ.
“A lot of his help has guided me in the game, helped me get to this point where I’m at right now. Helped me grow as a person — physically, mentally, emotionally and he kind of put some things in perspective”
Brady also acknowledged this close bond he shared with Brown:
“Antonio and I connected right away… I think he made incredible strides over the last 12 months to get [from] where he was at to where he is at now.”
Antonio Brown could have never seen such a turnaround coming for him. Going from being the hot-headed, diva o the league, to catching a touchdown from Tom Brady in the Super Bowl is remarkable, and it just goes to show that under the right circumstances and with the right people, it’s never too late.
Brown clearly knows this, and as a show of appreciation he made sure to thank the entire Buccaneers organization.
Antonio Brown’s Impending Free Agency
The wide receiver is set to be a free agent, but the hope remains that he will stay in Tampa Bay. Brady will surely be gunning for his return, and Brown definitely wants to stay.
After forming such a close bond, in such a short span with all the players and coaching staff, Brown certainly would not want to leave. All he’s had since leaving Pittsburgh is instability and a general sense of not knowing what will happen next. However, with Tampa Bay he may have just found his new home for the foreseeable future.