Joe Santoro: Antonio Brown is not crazy

Then-Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown gestures to the crowd as he leaves the field Jan. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media via AP)

Then-Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown gestures to the crowd as he leaves the field Jan. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media via AP)

We are now supposed to feel sorry for Antonio Brown. We are supposed to feel empathy, sympathy and compassion for the (former?) Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver after he acted like Ned Braden in the movie Slap Shot, stripping naked to the waist and strutting off the field last weekend.
Mr. Perfect Tom Brady, after all, feels sorry for him. “I love him,” Brady said this week. “I have a lot of empathy for the things that are happening in his life.” Former NFL defensive back Rodney Harrison says the NFL needs to help Brown because he is suffering from CTE. Harrison said CTE made Brown take off his jersey, shoulder pads and helmet and prance off the field, saluting the crowd on his way out like a stripper at closing time.
Reports are telling us Bucs head coach Bruce Arians is at fault because he repeatedly tried to force Brown back on the field despite Brown complaining of a serious ankle injury. It’s an ankle injury, by the way, that seemingly disappeared when Brown was doing his striptease act. So, yes, everybody is at fault for Brown acting like a spoiled, selfish, attention-seeking 3-year-old this weekend. The sport of football, of course, is also at fault because it gave Brown CTE. Coaches are at fault because all they want is Brown to perform on the field. Fans are at fault because, well, they enable his erratic behavior by buying his jersey and idolizing him. Everybody but Brown is at fault.
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Brown has been active on social media ever since he left the Bucs’ bench. If that’s crazy, well, we are all in trouble. He had enough sense to put on all his clothes before leaving the stadium in a chauffer’s car. If that’s crazy then all of us are in need of help. Who hasn’t, after all, forgotten to put on a shirt of shoes or both when going outside to get the mail?
Brown released a rap video just hours after supposedly melting down on Sunday. That’s not crazy. That’s a guy promoting his next career. Brown was at the Brooklyn Nets’ NBA game the following night. Was that the CTE acting up again? Hey, there’s no truth to the rumor he went there to give Kyrie Irving his fake vaccination card. And he also didn’t streak naked across the court during a timeout. So he was just a guy sitting in the stands cheering on his favorite NBA stars.
Are these the actions of someone just hours after suffering a breakdown because of mental illness brought on by a serious head trauma? We should all have such exciting, event-filled, interesting days and nights.
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The silliest story to come out of the Brown striptease show so far involved former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens. Yes, the very same guy who was among the originators of the look-at-me, aren’t-I-great? Self-absorbed wide receivers club. He invented wide receivers stripping to the waist in front of cameras.
Owens, who is now 48 years old, hasn’t played in the NFL in 11 years and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, says he would love to replace Brown on the Bucs’ roster. “I know I can do it,” Owens said on his podcast. “I feel I can compete at a high level.” Stop laughing. Anything is possible in the NFL these days. Owens, after all, would make Mr. Perfect Tom Brady feel young.
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The Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team showed tremendous growth during last Saturday’s 79-70 win over New Mexico. The Pack won a game when point guard Grant Sherfield, who has carried his teammates on his back the last two seasons, had just two field goals and scored just 10 points. Before last Saturday the Pack was 0-2 when Sherfield, who has played 38 games for Nevada in his career, had two or fewer field goals in a game and 2-4 when Sherfield scored 10 or fewer points. So, yes, the Pack can win when Sheffield doesn’t fill the stat sheet with points.
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Or did he? Sherfield might have scored just 10 points himself but he was responsible for the most points of any Pack player against New Mexico. The 6-foot-2 point guard had 10 assists that led to 24 points so he was directly responsible for 34 of the Pack’s 79 points. His assists led to 3-pointers from Tre Coleman, Alem Huseinovic, Desmond Cambridge and Kenan Blackshear as well as layups or dunks for Will Baker (four), Coleman (one) and Cambridge (one). So maybe Sherfield put the team on his back after all.
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We still have no idea what kind of offense new head coach Ken Wilson will run next season for the Nevada Wolf Pack football team. Wilson, a career linebackers coach, announced the hiring of four defensive coaches this week but no offensive coaches. The only offensive coach officially on the Pack staff right now is running backs coach Vai Taua, though Wilson is expected to hire Oregon offensive analyst Nate Costa as the Pack’s quarterbacks coach.
The one former Oregon assistant that Wilson will not apparently hire is former Pack assistant Jim Mastro. Mastro, a long-time running backs coach who has coached with Wilson at Nevada, Washington State and Oregon, recently turned down an offer to because an assistant with the Miami Hurricanes (under former Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal) because he is taking a year off from coaching to stay home on the west coast because of an undisclosed family illness.
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The most familiar name for Wolf Pack fans among Wilson’s new assistants is defensive co-coordinator Mike Bethea. Bethea played linebacker for the Pack (for linebackers coach Wilson) in 2008 and 2009. He had 29 tackles in 2008 in just nine games and 70 tackles in 13 games in 2009. Bethea was also a graduate assistant coach for the Pack in 2010 and 2011 and has been the defensive coordinator at a NAIA school (Ottawa University in Arizona) the last four years. Bethea was also a graduate assistant at Washington State from 2013-15 with Wilson as the Cougars’ linebackers coach.
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Bethea, who seemingly bleeds silver and blue like Wilson, just might end up as the Wolf Pack’s head coach someday. It, after all, is no surprise that he is on Wilson’s first staff, given their long-time relationship. Bethea, after all, was one of the Pack leaders as a player and was always a favorite of Wilson and former Pack coach Chris Ault.
“I think Mike’s work ethic is terrific,” Ault said in August 2009. “And I think his attitude is even better. I like those components. And I know one thing. He will lay it on the line for us.”
After missing much of the second half of the 2008 season because of a broken foot, Bethea said in 2009, “It (an injury) shows you how everyday being out there, practicing and playing, how special it is. I wish I had more years up here. I talk to Coach Wilson all the time about that.” He’s now getting those extra years at Nevada, thanks to Wilson.

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