Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press
The Houston Texans have reportedly been the “most active” team in pursuit of free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown in recent months, but no signing is imminent.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the update Friday on Get Up:
“Well, nothing imminent. I did speak to a source close to Brown who told me that among all the teams that have looked into Brown the last few months, it might be the Houston Texans that have been the most active, shown the most interest. That comes with a huge caveat: Nobody is signing him right now, with an eight-game suspension, that could be even longer because he still has an unresolved case with his former trainer, Britney Taylor. But Seattle came and went, some other teams came and went. Houston’s at least poking around here, so it’s worth watching as the team sits at 0-2 without a No. 1 wide receiver.”
However, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported there’s “nothing imminent or developing” in relation to the Texans and Brown, adding “several teams continue to monitor and evaluate” him.
Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was asked about Brown and told reporters the team is “always looking” to improve:
Mark Berman @MarkBermanFox26
Bill O’Brien on speculation #Texans have interest in free agent receiver Antonio Brown (@AB84): “I would never discuss anything that’s going on in that regard. I think we’re always looking. We’re always trying to improve the team,but right now we’re very satisfied with what we..” https://t.co/zUqcODi7Sm
Brown has been a free agent since he was released by the New England Patriots. It ended a whirlwind six-month stretch of his career that started when he was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in March 2019.
The 32-year-old Miami native’s short stay with the Raiders, which concluded without a single game played, came amid problems with general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden.
He made one appearance for the Pats, scoring a touchdown in a win over the Miami Dolphins, before he was let go after Taylor said in a civil lawsuit that he sexually assaulted her twice and raped her on three separate occasions between 2017 and 2018.
Brown was also accused of approaching a woman naked with just a towel covering his genitals after he had hired her to paint a mural at his home. After a further report by Robert Klemko for Sports Illustrated that the woman had received intimidating texts from the number she previously used to contact Brown following the publication of the first article, the Patriots released Brown.
Brown, who has said on multiple occasions he was planning to retire rather than pursue an NFL comeback, released a statement on Instagram after the league announced his suspension in July:
“I look forward to new beginnings. I want to be the best version of myself on and off the field, and I will do my best to be a great teammate. I appreciate the NFL giving me the opportunity to continue to work on myself and improve.
“I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity to play a game that I truly love and I look forward to joining a new team soon. Thank you to my family and all those that have supported me. I will show the fans my appreciation for this second chance by having the best season of my career.”
Meanwhile, the Texans are looking for a new top target after a blockbuster offseason trade that sent DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals.
Houston features strong depth at the position, led by Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, Kenny Stills and Randall Cobb, but none of them have proved themselves as a true No. 1 receiver in the NFL. Fuller posted 112 yards in Week 1, but failed to record a catch in Week 2.
If signed, Brown could fill that void for the Texans during the second half of the regular season if his suspension isn’t extended. He’s a seven-time Pro Bowl selection who led the league in receiving yards twice during his nine years with the Steelers.
Houston must first focus on turning around its season after losses to the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and championship contender Baltimore Ravens. No team faced a tougher start to the campaign, but it also showed how much work Deshaun Watson and Co. have to reach that level.
Next up they travel to Heinz Field on Sunday for a clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1 p.m. ET.