Antonio Brown, a former NFL superstar receiver who was last seen on a football field waving goodbye to fans at MetLife Stadium as he left after a fight with then-Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, in January 2022, he was named co-owner. from the National Arena League Albany Empire franchise.
Empire majority owner Mike Kwarta introduced Brown to reporters Thursday morning. Brown is the son of Eddie Brown, who starred for the Albany Firebirds back in the days of the Arena Football League. The Empire previously played in the Arena Football League before it folded and were known as the Firebirds for a period of time in that organization. The team won the last Arena Bowl before the league folded.
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«I am excited and grateful to be a part of the Albany Empire,» Brown said. «I grew up here as a little boy watching my father succeed and watch this construction go down.
«For me, it was easy. I’m excited to be here and excited to bring the Albany Empire a three-time championship and see players in the community live their dreams.»
The New York-based team also named Eddie Brown as vice president of football operations. Eddie Brown was named the Arena Football League’s greatest player in history when the league revealed its top 20 list as part of its 2006 anniversary celebration.
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«Everything right now is surreal,» he said. «I’m happy to be home.»
Albany won the National Arena League two years in a row. Their 2023 season begins on April 16 against the Orlando Predators.
«The future for the Albany Empire is bright and we couldn’t be happier with the direction we’re going,» team president Matt Woods said at the news conference.
Antonio Brown tweeted a photo of himself with his family at a Firebirds game several years ago.
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There are seven teams in the National Arena League. Aside from the Empire and the Predators, the Carolina Cobras, Fayetteville Mustangs, Jacksonville Sharks, San Antonio Gunslingers, and West Texas Warbirds are also in the league.