Sorry not sorry, but watching the rest of the world come unglued when their team’s environment reeks of a pig pen and the New England Patriots emerge smelling like roses is almost more fun than the winning itself.

Signing noted cryotherapy expert and YouTube content creator Antonio Brown for a relative song-and-dance, without having to buy either of the teams formerly associated with him so much as dinner, is perhaps the Most Patriot Thing Ever..

It’s also an underrated part of the mentality that has produced six Lombardi Trophies.

Much has been made of the franchise’s ability to win with interchangeable, anonymous parts, and rightfully so. The current defensive MVP is some random dude named Kyle Van Noy, if you require further evidence.

When the Patriots do hold the creative license to a superstar not named Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski, he’s invariably someone labeled a malcontent, a bad seed, or a quitter. The list is a mile long, but Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, LeGarrette Blount, Darrelle Revis and Josh Gordon spring to mind.

They’re usually big-time, short-term solutions to a glaring need. They’re also classic guys we loved to hate when they were on any other team, which of course only strengthens the world’s conviction that Patriots’ fans are a bunch of bandwagon-jumping hypocrites.

Hey, I get that. If you have any conscience whatsoever, moves such as Saturday’s signing of a cancerous personality otherwise near the apex of his career forces you to grit your teeth and plug your nose. It’s especially grating to the senses when you consider all the good guys – the all-in, dedicated, dyed in the wool Patriots – who’ve been dealt or allowed to get away under the umbrella of “it’s just business.”

Welcome to the vicious and delicious cycle of success. The Patriots are the only team that has the privilege of making this move without even a fleeting, second thought. And when you’re in that spot, like it or not, you absolutely must at least give it a shot.

It’s a different situation, obviously, but not totally unlike the Yankees adding Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira once upon a time, or the Warriors plucking Kevin Durant from the free agent frenzy. Being either the established or prospective dynasty in your sport makes you the one and only wish-upon-a-star landing spot for every ringless superstar under the sun.

Add to that the phenomenon that even the jerks seem to respect Bill Belichick’s reputation as The Jerk Whisperer. Despite his reputation as a no-nonsense, no-personality guy, some of the most obvious me-first talents in the game are effusive about their desire to play for him.

And the feelings are often mutual. Remember Mr. Do Your Job’s heaping helping of man-love for Chad Ochocinco? Granted, the Bengals’ mainstay at wideout was well past his prime and a horrible fit when Belichick finally brought him on board, but that he would take a flyer was inevitable.

Generally when I can’t stand a player, I try to keep my rhetoric to a dull roar, keenly aware that it could be held against me as Twitter that didn’t age well when that guy becomes a Patriot. I’m triply thunderstruck that Ndamukong Suh, for instance, hasn’t yet spent a year in officially licensed Flying Elvis gear.

You have to be of a certain age, I guess, to fully appreciate the irony of the Oakland Raiders’ misfortune making this transaction possible. “Just Win, Baby” didn’t used to be a punchline. The Silver and Black used to make its living with cranky castoffs and rat-tailed rogues. It was the calling card. Those who didn’t or couldn’t fit in anywhere else, or those who wanted to have future NFL rule changes named after them, somehow enjoyed a soft landing by the bay.

At the risk of being Captain Obvious, signing Brown either will work or it won’t. There’s zero danger of it tearing apart the locker room, ending the dynasty, or any of the other foolishness that’s been suggested over the past 48 hours. Belichick holds both a short leash and a long history of such moves being low-risk, high-reward.

As for the supposed public relations nightmare of it, please just stop with the “what about the children?” posturing. While none of us love to see petulance rewarded, this guy wasn’t caught on camera assaulting or on voice mail threatening the mother of his child. He hasn’t been flagged for repeated drunk driving offenses.

Based on sheer mathematics and societal trends, you can be sure all 32 rosters are home to a miscreant or two in 2019.

Antonio Brown isn’t one of them. He’s basically a super-talented dude with a distaste for losing and disrespect. While I wish he hadn’t repaid the latter with such a huge helping of his own during this year’s training camp, I don’t think either is the crime of the century.

On some, strange level, I can even relate to it and appreciate it. Columnists are a little like wide receivers. We like the sound of our own voice in the ultimate team game. So I don’t feel all that icky about extending the hand of fellowship to AB.

Count me as one who’s happy to rent the most productive receiver on the planet for the next 15-plus games, and also one who’s expecting to enjoy the results on the field and the hand-wringing off it with equally heaping buckets of popcorn.

Kalle Oakes spent 27 years with the Sun Journal sports department. He is now sports editor of the Georgetown (Kentucky) News-Graphic. Keep in touch with him by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @oaksie72.

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