FOXBORO — Former New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has made no bones about it: He wants to return to the team that released him last month after only 11 days on the roster.
“If you guys follow the Patriots, tell them (to) call me,” Brown said in a recent Instagram Live video. “They still got to pay me; might as well let me earn it.”
Whether team owner Robert Kraft is considering such a move is unclear, but what is clear is that many Patriots fans think re-signing Brown would be a mistake.
“They absolutely should not re-sign him. I was shocked when they signed him in the first place,” said Kris Haws, 44, a criminal investigator from Westboro Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. “Do they need a wide receiver? Probably. Now that (Phillip) Dorsett is injured … I mean, we have (Julian) Edelman, but we can’t expect him to do everything.”
Former North Attleboro resident Adam Carey, 28, who was with Haws, his soon-to-be brother-in law, at the game, said he thinks the Patriots are just fine without the showy wideout.
“I was skeptical when the Patriots originally signed him because he usually brings lots of drama with him,” said Carey, 27, a nurse who now lives in North Smithfield. “And really, I don’t think they need him. They have shown what they can do without star receivers.”
Brown was dropped from the team after his former trainer filed sexual assault charges against him and after he allegedly sent threatening text messages to another woman who, in a Sports Illustrated article, accused him of sexual assault.
After his dismissal, Brown also took to Twitter to take a shot at Kraft, who in February was accused of receiving sex acts for money at a Jupiter, Fla., spa.
Brown has reportedly filed grievances through the NFL Players Association, including one that claims the Patriots still owe him his $9 million signing bonus.
Matt Talarico, 18, who graduated from Xaverian Brothers High School earlier this year and is playing junior hockey for a year before going to college, called Brown “a cancer” and said the Patriots made a “smart decision” to drop him.
“He causes problems wherever he goes,” said the Raynham resident, who was with friends to watch the Patriots’ win over the New York Giants.
“Everything is centered around him. He always needs to be the center of attention,” said Needham resident Jack Pomposelli, 16, a junior at Xaverian Brothers High School.
His brother, Ryan, 18, a senior at Xaverian, had a different viewpoint, claiming that Brown could be an asset to the team if “someone can get through to him.”
“Regardless of how much disruption he causes off the field, he is one of the best receivers of all time, and I think the Patriots could use him right now,” he said.
Molly Collins, 41, a retailer manager from Newark, N.J., who is a lifelong Giants fan, said she is glad the Patriots didn’t keep Brown.
“He’s so good and wouldn’t have helped us at all,” she said. “But I mean, they had Aaron Hernandez, and he was murdering people. So it doesn’t make sense that they got rid of Brown who hasn’t even been charged with anything.”
Patriots fan Gene Bannister, a regional engineer from Danbury, Conn., said he thinks the Patriots should have held onto Brown and tried to steer him in the right direction.
“You can’t keep talent like that off the field,” Bannister said. “He needs to be playing.”
Regardless of talent, Steven Colletti, 35, a financier from South Boston, said Brown should “not come near this stadium or the Patriots organization.”
“Why would we want someone like that on our team? We’ve done extremely well without him and I think he (Kraft) would be out of his mind to even consider re-signing him,” he said before the game. “It’s not gonna happen.”