Brown will always have a job in the Nutty Football League

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun
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A belated Happy New Year! It got off to a predictable bang when Antonio Brown detonated like an M-80 on Sunday.

The Bucs receiver stripped off his jersey and pads on the sideline, tossed his shirt and gloves into the stands, jogged to the end zone, did a few jumping jacks, waved to the New York crowd and disappeared into the tunnel.

Gee, who saw that coming?

Virtually everyone, since Brown has long been the NFL’s biggest narcissist/nutjob. By Brown's standards, quitting work in the middle of a shift was actually small potatoes. At least he wasn’t accused of domestic battery or convicted of assault and burglary or tossing furniture out of a 14th-floor apartment.

The Bucs signed Brown under a “zero-tolerance” policy last year. He even moved into Tom Brady’s house, which must have violated the neighborhood’s HOA.

Things were relatively calm until Brown was caught using a fake vaccination card and suspended three games. When coach Bruce Arians was asked how he’d respond to critics of his decision to give Brown yet another chance, he said, “I could give a (bleep) what they think.”

Give him points for honesty. For all of Brown’s idiocy, he runs pass routes better than just about anyone on Earth.

The Bucs are like any other team. They are all willing to make a deal with talented devils. One reason is because they know fans will put up with it — to a point.

Brown went full Johnny Paycheck Sunday, Tampa Bay to “Take this job and shove it.” But he’ll probably be on some team’s roster next year. Heck, the Chiefs and Rams are probably debating whether to sign him today for a playoff run.

If that bothers you, just sigh and remember one thing. They don’t give a bleep what you think….

Ole Miss QB Matt Corral

Stud of the Week: Ole Miss QB Matt Corral, for not opting out of the Sugar Bowl despite being a likely first-round draft pick. Sadly, the calculated risk backfired when Corral suffered a knee injury.

Opinion:Pipe down, Kirk Herbstreit. Matt Corral's injury shows your hot take is wrong.

You can’t blame NFL prospects for sitting out “meaningless” bowl games. But you have to admire the ones who still find meaning in playing all the way through.

Dud of the Week: The Pac-12, for going 0-5 in bowl games.

Dud II: People magazine, for its cover story headlined “Betty White Turns 100!” Err, the Golden Gal died last Friday, 18 days short of hitting the big 1-0-0….

Speaking of the Pac-12, it’s only 244 days until Florida opens its season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium against Pac-12 champ Utah, which finished 10-4 after losing 48-45 to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. As part of his contract negotiations, UF promised Billy Napier it will be 97 degrees with 100% humidity that day….

The world’s population hit 7.8 billion people on New Year’s Day, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It also reported that at least three of those people could identify which teams played in this year’s Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl….

Basketball Hall-of-Famer Sam Jones

A heavenly shout-out to basketball Hall-of-Famer Sam Jones, who died last week at age 88. After winning his 10th title with the Celtics, Jones retired and became a substitute teacher in Maryland for 30 years. Somehow, I just can’t envision any recent Hall-of-Famers doing that….

More Bowl Leftovers: Instead of a Gatorade shower, the winning coach in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl agreed beforehand to have 4½ gallons of Duke’ Real Mayonnaise dumped on his head as part of a $10,000 charitable donation. It was a great idea, and I sincerely hope the coaches in next year’s Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken Bowl follow suit….

O.J. Simpson

O.J.’s Verdict: O.J. Simpson tweeted that Antonio Brown’s antics on Sunday were “completely inexcusable.” Pro tip — when you’ve slashed your ex-wife and a waiter to death, you probably shouldn’t be weighing in on what constitutes inexcusable behavior….

Due to covid protocols sidelining players, Greg Monroe of the Minnesota Timberwolves made history last week when he became the 541st person to play in an NBA game in a season. That doesn’t include the 193 players Orlando has gone through trying to find one who can dribble and chew gum at the same time….

O.J. Redux: In another tweet, O.J. Simpson said his two cats would routinely bolt from his Brentwood home and go down the street to Betty White’s house. I can’t imagine why they’d prefer hanging out with her….

Before the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, North Carolina coach Mack Brown said of his potential mayonnaise shower: “If we won a game, I’d let someone hit me in the face with a frying pan.”

Bring on the CorningWare Frying Pan Bowl!

This week’s People magazine cover: “Tom Brady turns 100!”….

In case you’re wondering, Central Michigan beat Washington State in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl. And if you were wondering, it’s probably a good sign you need to find a hobby in 2022….

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. Until next time, if O.J. shows up at your house looking for his cats, just hand them over and assure him they didn’t say anything.

— David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at And follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley

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