Antonio Brown's arena football team in chaos: Fired Albany Empire coach says AB 'came in and killed' franchise
Antonio Brown's arena football team in chaos: Fired Albany Empire coach says AB 'came in and killed' franchise
Antonio Brown's arena football team in chaos as ex-coach says AB 'ruined' team

Two months into Antonio Brown's stint as the owner of an arena football team, the wheels have started to come off.

The Albany Empire of the National Arena League have descended into chaos since Brown took over, and the former NFL receiver is bearing plenty of blame. 

Former head coach Damon Ware, who was fired over the weekend, told TMZ that the team isn't paying players and Brown was difficult to work with. Ware told TMZ Brown started "texting him violent threats" after conversations about player payments.

Ware said Brown "came in and killed" the franchise, which had won back-to-back championships before he took over. The Empire are off to a 1-2 start this season. 

The Times Union reported Monday that players are supposed to be paid each Friday but no one received their direct deposits last week. Acting team president Alberony Denis said there was a problem with the team's payroll processor related to previous ownership, but it has been resolved. 

MORE: Antonio Brown sparks rumors of NFL return with bizarre Twitter post

Former Empire QB Sam Castronova also told TMZ that seven players and Ware were locked out of their hotel rooms at Brown's request during a team road trip. Castronova was among eight players released by the team after the incident. 

BREAKING: Sources close to the Albany Empire tell me that 8 players and head coach Damon Ware have been let go from the team following last night's loss over issues with pay.

Players include QB Sam Castronova and WR Darius Prince.

More news to come on @CBS6Albany.

— AJ Pankowski (@PankowskiAjCBS6) May 1, 2023

Brown took to Twitter on Sunday night to make a plea for "the best players in the country" to come join the franchise. 

Who's the best players in the country who want to play for @thealbanyempir opportunities knocking 3P at Steak

— AB (@AB84) May 1, 2023

MORE: Antonio Brown's timeline of trouble

The Empire filled their head coaching void by re-hiring Tom Menas, who had been fired days before the start of the season.

With two coaching changes in a span of two months, the Empire are starting to mirror Brown's own career. The talented but troubled receiver was released by the Raiders and Patriots less than two weeks apart in 2019, despite being near the prime of his career. 

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