Antonio Brown doesn't play in arena football game he was expected to make his debut in

Fans who expected to see former NFL receiver Antonio Brown in action at Sunday’s Arena Football League game for the Albany Empire were left disappointed. Although Brown was expected to make his debut for the team, which he is also the majority owner of, he was not on the field.

WNYT in Albany reported that the reason for Brown’s absence had to do with paperwork for his physical that did not come through. However, Chris Siegfried, the commissioner of the Arena Football League, said Antonio Brown could have overridden the decision because he is the team’s owner.

Brown told WNYT that he ultimately made the choice not to play because he wanted to set a good example for the other players. Still, he assured fans that he would make his debut soon.

“Stay tuned, AB’s coming,” the receiver told WNYT. “There’s proper procedures you’ve got to do to play football. You’ve got to pass the coach, the commissioner. You’ve got to be in physical condition. You can’t just pop up, so I’ve got to get my feet wet. We’ve got to get the proper equipment. We’ve got to do the right thing.

“But I am going to be playing. You didn’t lie. Everything is going to fall in place.”

A reported 4,500 fans showed up in anticipation of watching Brown play. That is 2,000 more than the Empire’s typical home crowd of 2,500. With that in mind, a lot of fans likely left without getting their money’s worth, and it will be interesting to whether any action is taken from Brown or the team to make up for that.

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Antonio Brown reportedly receiving interest from NFL teams

Brown has not played in an NFL game since 2021, when he infamously took his Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey off mid-game and left the field against the Jets. Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said immediately postgame that Brown was no longer a part of the team.

However, a recent update indicated that some NFL teams have expressed interest in adding Brown ahead of 2023. CBS6’s Chet Davis shared a report on Brown with an update from his adviser JR Rickert. He confirmed that teams ‘have been inquiring about (Brown)’ and are wondering if a return to the NFL is possible.

Brown announced his retirement from football in March, but then unretired less than two months later.

In spite of the numerous off-field issues he brings, Brown is undeniably a great player. Over his 12 seasons with Pittsburgh, Oakland, New England, and Tampa Bay, he caught 928 passes for over 12,200 receiving yards and 83 touchdowns. He led the league in receptions and receiving yards twice and earned seven Pro Bowl appearances.

It will be interesting to see whether he does ultimately return to the game of football, whether that be in the NFL or the AFL.

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