Football Footnotes: Antonio Brown reportedly walks out of court; Ravens address in-fighting
This week’s “Friday Football Footnotes” starts with Antonio Brown’s latest slip from reality. Earl Thomas talks about the Baltimore Ravens clubhouse argument last Sunday. We look at the game of the week from the NFC. And we do some long-term forecasting in the AFC.
It keeps getting better
I know this is going to shock you. But former Steeler Antonio Brown is accused of doing something else crazy.
He is accused of refusing to answer questions in that court-ordered deposition regarding his alleged furniture-throwing temper tantrum in Florida. Brown and his former landlord are entangled in a legal dispute over damage done to a Miami condo. Brown sat for a deposition Sept. 24.
Via The Blast, Brown essentially made the deposition useless because of his behavior.
First of all, he showed up 30 minutes late — par for the course.
Then the landlord claimed Brown refused to answer routine questions.
“Rather than answering the questions posed, the defendant chanted, over and over, as if a mantra, a narrative of his own warped concert of the proceedings,” the landlord’s attorney wrote.
Maybe he was chanting, “Float like a butterfly, sting like A.B.” Or perhaps, he just kept responding, “Business is boomin’.”
He also probably only responded when he was addressed as “Ronald.”
The documents go on to claim Brown texted during the deposition, ignored his attorneys, then simply “walked out.”
The landlord is demanding a judge step in and force the All-Pro to sit for another deposition.
Maybe they should have him stream it on Facebook Live? A.B. seems to prefer that route.
So, it happened?
Last Sunday, reports surfaced that Ravens teammates Earl Thomas and Brandon Williams had a dust-up in the locker room after the Browns beat them 40-25.
On Thursday, Thomas confirmed that it happened. He was apparently upset that Williams was a late injury scratch before the game.
“I know it’s going to be a dog fight.”
Safety Earl Thomas talks about his first Ravens-Steelers game and what needs to happen to get the defense back on track. pic.twitter.com/0TF2oee9dp
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 3, 2019
“We talked about it,” Thomas said. “I just want him out there. He’s a Pro Bowler. We’re better when he’s out there. I was a little frustrated. I just wanted to see what was going on with him because I know he had practiced earlier in the week. I didn’t know (about the injury). It just kind of hit me out of the blindside. But hopefully, he’ll play this week.”
I didn’t read an “I’m sorry” in there, did you?
Williams was limited in practice Thursday and wasn’t available for comment. He’s an excellent run-stopping defensive lineman and would be a significant addition back into the Ravens lineup Sunday against the Steelers if he can play.
Easy road (Part 1)
On Thursday, we mentioned how crummy the AFC has been so far in 2019.
The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs are probably the two best teams in football. But the Buffalo Bills are currently the only other AFC team above .500
The NFC boasts eight.
Plus, the AFC has four of the NFL’s six winless teams — along with the limping one-win Steelers.
If you think the Bills only got to 3-1 based on a weak schedule so far, you’re right. Their wins have come against the New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets. Those clubs are a combined 2-9.
I give Buffalo more credit for hanging with New England in a 16-10 loss than I do any of their wins.
That’s not a prediction to say the Bills will fail to make the playoffs despite their strong start. In fact, based on the rest of their schedule, it’s going to be hard for Buffalo to miss the postseason, even if you are ready to concede the AFC East to the Patriots.
Which I am. I was ready to do that in July when I realized Tom Brady survived his cliff-jumping excursion.
But the Bills may have the easiest remaining schedule of any team in the NFL. They still get to play the Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins (twice) and Jets again. That’s five games against teams that have failed to win a game so far.
Win those, and Buffalo is up to eight victories.
Road games against New England and the Dallas Cowboys will be brutal. However, if Buffalo can at least split the four games they have against the Tennessee Titans (Sunday), Philadelphia Eagles (Oct. 27), Cleveland Browns (Nov. 10) and Baltimore Ravens (Dec. 8), they’ll be in good shape heading into a potentially pivotal Week 15 game against the Steelers (Dec. 15).
Now, it’s possible the Bills actually stink, too, and they’ll eventually prove to be worse than even those winless clubs. But if that game in Pittsburgh means as much as I think it will for Buffalo, prepare for Heinz Field’s parking lots to be overrun by those lunatic table-breaking members of the Bills Mafia.
Especially this kid.
Welcome to #BillsMafia, kid
— ESPN (@espn) September 18, 2019
I mean, talk about being unhinged!
Easy road (Part 2)
Things aren’t quite as easy for the Cleveland Browns.
After Monday night’s tough game in San Francisco, the Browns have to host the Seattle Seahawks and visit the Patriots.
So a 2-5 record for the Browns isn’t out of the question.
Even if things hit a low point like that, those who were on the Browns preseason hype train shouldn’t give up hope.
Cleveland’s last nine games feature one opponent who got through the first quarter of the 2019 season with a winning record — Buffalo (in Cleveland).
The return game against the Ravens — who Cleveland just throttled 40-25 last weekend — is also at home. They have both games against the Steelers still to come, too.
But aside from that, the rest of the teams on their schedule are the Cardinals, Broncos, Dolphins and Bengals (twice). Like Buffalo, five games against teams that have yet to collect a win.
Cleveland might have a tougher time if they scheduled Ohio State.
Game of the weekend
My favorite game of the weekend is the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Green Bay Packers.
Both teams are coming off close losses against other NFC playoff contenders — the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia, respectively.
Both will be on edge, looking for a win. Both clubs won their first three games. Many — myself included — picked both clubs to win their respective divisions.
If that should happen, a head-to-head tie-breaking win in early October may determine a bye or home-field advantage in a matchup come early January.
Green Bay’s improved defense slipped a little bit against Philadelphia last week. The Cowboys are top 5 in many offensive categories. I’ll take Dallas 27-26.