ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -The MVP Arena invited fans in to watch the Albany Empire and Fayetteville Mustangs compete on the field. Antonio Brown, owner of the Albany Empire team, was set to play alongside his team for their big game.

Advertised as his return as a player since his last game in January 2022, fans say they were looking forward to him leaving the stands. “I don’t know if his not in-shape or in-shape, but I was actually very interested to see him play. I kind of figured he wasn’t going to, but I’m still here. I want to see what he does for this team,” said fan, Cody Starks.

Due to a physical not being submitted on time, Brown was forced to be benched for the game. Brown’s inactivation didn’t cause the packed house to leave early though. In honor of Memorial Day weekend, veterans and first responders were given free tickets to the game.

Fans were thankful to be able to see the game with their families and look back on good times. “His father obviously played for the Firebirds back in the day. I actually had the privilege back in the mid 90’s, I was coached by Touchdown Eddy Brown, Coach Brown. I remember when Antonio was just a little guy,” described fan, Justin Morris.

While the game was still on, fans were hopeful that with or without Brown in the game, his team was set to end their losing streak. “I think we can get back in the playoffs. I’m wearing the 18 because this is when they came here and it’s kind of like a reset. This is the week to do it,” said fan, John Yeman. At the end of the game, the winners were decided as the Fayetteville Mustangs. The team beat the Albany Empire 49 to 27.