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Revisiting Antonio Brown’s legendary career with the Bills

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Brown is headed to the Raiders. But for about eight(ish) glorious hours, he was set to catch passes from Josh Allen in Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Antonio Brown got his wish in the early hours of Sunday morning when the Steelers agreed to trade him to the Oakland Raiders. But for a few hours, he was a member of the Buffalo Bills ... kinda.

At 11:28 p.m. ET Thursday night, Ian Rapoport said the Steelers were “closing in on a deal” that would send arguably the best receiver in the NFL to Buffalo. Within a half hour, Brown called the report fake news on Instagram. By 12:36 a.m., Bills reporter Vic Carucci described a trade as “unlikely.” At 3:26 a.m., Adam Schefter said a deal wasn’t “ever close to happening” and “dead on Wednesday.” And by 7:46 a.m., the Bills released a statement saying they moved on from Brown.

Oh, what an era it was.

The trade looked unlikely after only an hour, but let’s call its lifespan a solid eight hours. That’s how long it took for Buffalo to officially nix the report from Rapoport.

Those eight hours are longer than:

  • Nathan Peterman’s time on the field with the Bills: I don’t have an exact number for that, but he took a total of 245 snaps in his two seasons with Buffalo. There’s no way that was eight hours worth of play time.
  • Eli Manning’s time as a quarterback for the Chargers: San Diego picked Manning No. 1 in the 2004 NFL Draft, but he wasn’t happy about it. He wanted a trade and didn’t have to wait long before he was swapped out for Philip Rivers. That deal was made shortly after the No. 5-overall pick was announced. Manning’s time with the Chargers wasn’t even as long as it took Brown to say “fake news.”
  • Roger Goodell’s 10-minute Twitter death: In June 2016, the NFL announced on Twitter that the commissioner died. Ten minutes later, it was revealed to be a hoax announcement from a hacked account.
  • AJ McCarron’s trade to the Browns: Cleveland decided it wanted to trade for the Bengals’ backup a mere five minutes before the trade deadline in October 2017. The Browns couldn’t file the necessary paperwork in time and the deal died.

Brown’s time with the Bills was just a little shorter than Josh McDaniels’ nine-and-a-half-hour tenure as the Colts’ head coach. It was also shorter than Jake Plummer’s one day with the Buccaneers before the quarterback retired following his trade from the Broncos. That could’ve been the outcome for Brown too, if the Steelers and Bills went ahead and made the deal anyway. He reportedly nixed the deal himself — which isn’t too surprising as he didn’t even want to answer the phone when the Bills tried to draft him.

So cheers to Antonio Brown: The greatest Bills receiver that never was.