“I hope Eli’s okay with it,” Bradshaw told Fox Business, “because he’s such a good dude. I hope he’s okay with it. I’m sure he isn’t. If they came to me in Pittsburgh after two weeks [of the season] and they said, ‘Terry, we’re going to have to go with so-and-so,' I’d shake their hands, I’d pack my bags and I’d go home, because that would be a hard pill to swallow after all of that. I understand why they did it, but it is a hard pill to swallow for Eli.”
The Giants could have made this decision before the start of the season. It would have saved the team $11.5 million in base salary (which became guaranteed as termination pay when the regular season began), as Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio points out. Keeping him risks stunting Jones’s development; releasing a beloved player would have been difficult for the team, but it would have allowed Manning, who has started 232 of the Giants’ last 233 games, to try to sign with another team. Instead, the Giants are off to an 0-2 start and have scored only 31 points.
“I feel for him, I truly do,” Bradshaw said. “That’s a horrible position to be in after so many great years as a Giant.”
At the other end of the spectrum for Bradshaw is Brown, the former Steelers and Raiders wide receiver who is toiling for the Patriots as the NFL investigates allegations of rape and sexual assault by a woman who has filed a lawsuit against him. Brown denies the allegations, but the shenanigans that caused the Steelers to trade him to the Raiders and the Raiders to dump him were too much for Bradshaw.
“I cannot emphasize how I cannot stand and have a disdain totally for players like that,” Bradshaw told the Tribune-Review last week. “I don’t want any part of them. I wouldn’t like them. They would hate me if they were on our team. They would hate me because I wouldn’t throw to him.
“I will not put up with that kind of behavior. You don’t win with it. Why haven’t we won more Super Bowls? There is talent, [but] it’s just guys like him. Let him go and his brand and whatever it is he’s doing.”
The Steelers haven’t appeared in a Super Bowl since losing to Green Bay after Brown’s rookie regular season.
“Winning football games is all about the team and all about players caring about one another and everybody pulling together, not pulling apart,” Bradshaw said. “You can’t have Antonio Brown for all the greatness that they are, do you want the baggage that goes with that crap? I wouldn’t.
“I’m glad they got rid of him and I’m upset now that I know how he got away … [with what] he was doing there. I wish the heck they would have gotten rid of him a long time ago.”
Bradshaw is skeptical that Brown, who was the NFL’s most productive wide receiver in nine seasons with the Steelers, can last in New England. He made his debut with the Patriots in Week 2 and is expected to play in Sunday’s game against the Jets.
“Let New England have him,” Bradshaw said. “Maybe he becomes Billy Graham, I don’t know. I seriously doubt it, seriously doubt it.
“I’m not pulling for him, I can promise you that.”