Antonio Brown joins the Albany Empire practice as owner gears up to play Saturday’s game
Antonio Brown joins Albany Empire training as owner gears up to play Saturday’s game – after reports of bust-ups and a poor attendance record in a rocky start to his tenure
- His legendary father ‘Touchdown’ Eddie Brown played for the Albany Firebirds
- Brown owns 95% of Albany Empire after a deal was struck several months ago
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown geared up for practice for the Albany Empire on Thursday as he prepares for his National Arena League debut on Saturday.
Brown would have appeared with about 20 minutes left in the two-hour practice before warming up and running just one route, catching a short pass from quarterback Roland Rivers.
“Anything you have, a skill, you have to work on that. And if you don’t work at it, you can lose it. So today was a good day. It was the beginning of working on it,” said Brown, per Times Union.
However, the seven-time Pro Bowler did not specify exactly how much he would be on the field when he comes into action on Saturday.
‘Don’t know. We’ll see,” Brown added. “Get my feet under me, see what the coach thinks. It will be up to him and his leadership, but I’m here to gain experience, give good energy and deliver a winning result.’
Albany Empire owner Antonio Brown geared up for the final few minutes of Thursday’s practice
Brown was scheduled to make his National Arena League debut on Saturday vs. the Fayetteville Mustangs
Brown’s head coach on Saturday will be newly hired Pete Porcelli, who took over earlier this week following the sudden departure of Damon Ware and the resignation of Tom Menas.
The one-time Super Bowl champion’s tenure as team owner in the National Arena League got off to a rocky start with several key players also leaving the team due to compensation issues and locker room tensions.
Brown also reportedly once asked that some of his players be locked out of their hotel rooms after they complained about his ownership. Claims of poor management and home visits were also leaked.
After Ware’s departure, the Empire brought back Menas, who was fired before the season started.
Menas didn’t even last three full weeks before resigning last weekend after a 45-point loss at the Jacksonville Sharks.
Chances are Brown’s addition to the active roster will spark at least a small spike in ticket sales, as the ex-NFL star has never played in the NAL before.
During his distinguished NFL career, Brown recorded 12,291 receiving yards, 928 receptions and 83 touchdowns over 11 years, joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and most notably the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brown also spent time with the Oakland Raiders, although he never played a game for the team before moving to the Patriots.
Arena league blood runs through his veins. His father ‘Touchdown’ Eddie Brown played WR for Albany Firebirds and was named the greatest player in Arena Football League history in 2006.
Ex-NFL All-Pro WR recently purchased the Empire, but his tenure got off to a rocky start
According to the soon-to-be player owner, the only advice he got from his father was very simple: “Get in the end zone.”
Brown also recently speculated that he was trying to persuade former NFL MVP Cam Newton to join the Empire, saying, “Stay tuned…my friend Cam will be here soon.”
Newton’s agent told the Times Union that he “would not know of Newton’s plans in regard to the Empire and could not comment if he did.”
In April, Brown was repeatedly told to “get off” the field of the Empire by security personnel who did not believe the ex-NFL star owned the team.