Would the Patriots really take Antonio Brown back?

Antonio Brown randomly posted an apology to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft this week.

Perhaps it wasn’t all that random. Former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria, who co-hosts a show on WEEI in Boston, said the Patriots have "kicked the tires" on Brown.

Who knows what that all means. Former players on sports-talk radio aren’t historically the most reliable sources for breaking news. Even if the Patriots were “kicking the tires,” it doesn’t mean they’re going to sign Brown. And even if they wanted to sign Brown, there are still hurdles in terms of potential NFL punishment.

Still, it’s a pretty interesting possibility, however realistic it is.

Antonio Brown played one game for New England

Brown played one game with the Patriots. He had four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown with limited snaps and not much time to learn the offense. It was a perfect match.

And then it all fell apart, like it did for Brown in Pittsburgh and Oakland. He sent some intimidating texts to a woman who accused him of sexual impropriety in a Sports Illustrated story. The Patriots cut him. Brown hasn’t resurfaced in the NFL as the league drags on its investigation.

Then, out of the blue, Brown posted an apology to Kraft.

If that was thawing the ice, Bill Belichick (predictably) wasn’t saying anything.

“You’d have to ask Robert about that,” Belichick said on Wednesday, via Patriots Wire. “I mean, every week you guys ask me about a player that’s not on our team, so every week it’s going to be the same answer.”

Brown offers unfiltered opinions on social media that seem to come out of nowhere. And people have made the mistake of believing his erratic behavior is part of some mastermind plot. But ... maybe?

Antonio Brown played one game with the Patriots. (AP)

The Patriots need a playmaker

The Patriots cut Josh Gordon. Rob Gronkowski isn’t coming out of retirement. Mohamed Sanu is banged up. The Patriots offense is not operating at its normal level. If Brown’s slate was clean, they could certainly use him.

It doesn’t make much sense why the Patriots would take on all of his baggage, but it didn’t make a ton of sense back in September either. Brown was a nightmare for the Raiders, and the Patriots hate distractions. But they ignored all of that because Brown is one of the best receivers of this generation. Football-wise, he’d be exactly what the Patriots need.

It’s still hard to believe. The same reasons the Patriots cut him in September still apply. The NFL met with Brown last week, but hasn’t said he won’t be punished. Nothing has really changed since Brown was cut, other than the Patriots’ need for a big-time receiver has grown.

The Patriots can surprise us at times. And they’ll make bold moves other teams aren’t willing to try. It seems impossible that Brown would be back on the Patriots, but stay tuned.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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