Cut by Raiders, Brown becoming a Patriot on eve of opener

  • FILE - In this Aug. 20, 2019 file photo, Oakland Raiders' Antonio Brown smiles before stretching during NFL football practice in Alameda, Calif. Brown was released by the Raiders, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Antonio Brown agreed to terms with the New England Patriots hours after the Oakland Raiders cut him, going from the NFL’s cellar to the defending Super Bowl champions on Saturday despite wearing out his welcome with two teams in one offseason.

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press. Brown had been scheduled to earn up to $50 million from Oakland over the three-year deal. Instead, the Patriots guaranteed him $9 million this season, with the potential to earn as much as $15 million.

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Brown posted a picture of himself in a Patriots uniform on Instagram shortly after ESPN first reported the signing. The post was soon liked by New England receiver Julian Edelman, who already was splitting quarterback Tom Brady’s attention with one troublemaking receiver, Josh Gordon.

A Patriots spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New England opens the season against the Steelers on Sunday night, when they will raise their sixth Super Bowl championship banner. Brown is unlikely to play, but even his presence on the Patriots’ sideline adds a new wrinkle to his tumultuous tenure in Pittsburgh.

A four-time All-Pro who caught 837 passes over nine seasons with the Steelers, the team tired of Brown’s antics and traded him to Oakland in March. But he never made it onto the field in a Raiders uniform.

Instead of providing them with a marquee star in their final season in Oakland before moving to Las Vegas, Brown gave them months of headaches, from a bizarre foot injury to a fight over his helmet to the blowups this week that ended his career there before it began.

The Raiders granted the disgruntled but talented receiver his Saturday morning, two days before their season opener.

“We just exhausted everything,” Gruden said. “We tried every way possible to make it work. All I’m going to say is, it’s disappointing.”

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Brown asked for the release after he was upset about his latest team fine over an outburst during practice at general manager Mike Mayock. That fine allowed the Raiders to void more than $29 million in guarantees over the next two years in Brown’s contract if he wasn’t on the team.

The Raiders traded two mid-round draft picks to Pittsburgh for the game’s most prolific receiver and gave him a three-year contract worth $50.1 million that now is void; Brown could still file a grievance to recover the guaranteed money.

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