1:56 PM PT -- Tom Brady -- who "liked" AB's post on Instagram ... was just asked about the apology during a media availability on Thursday ... and it got awkward.
"I didn't put much thought into it. But ... yeah, It's his choice and good for him," Brady said before immediately walking off stage.
At least Brady sorta answered the question ... Bill Belichick was tight-lipped per usual when he was asked earlier in the day, saying, "Every week you guys ask me about players that aren’t on the team and every week it’s the same answer."
New England Patriots
Antonio Brown is TRYING to make things right with the New England Patriots -- starting with an apology to owner Robert Kraft.
"Mr.Kraft I apologize sincerely to you and your organization," Brown wrote.
"All I wanted to be was an asset to the organization; sorry for the bad media and the drama ! Thank you sincerely AB."
"Kraft got caught in the parlor AB speculations fired different strokes different folks clearly," Brown tweeted.
Brown later deleted the post -- but the damage had already been done.
So, why the apology? That's obvious ... Brown is desperate to get back in the NFL but no team is willing to take a chance on him right now for several reasons.
First, the NFL is currently investigating him over sexual assault allegations included in a lawsuit filed against him earlier this year.
Second, AB not only had a bad breakup with the Pats, but he burned the bridge with the Raiders all the way down too ... essentially forcing the team to cut him back in August when he illegally recorded a phone call with coach Jon Gruden and posted it on YouTube.
The Seattle Seahawks reportedly looked into signing Brown a few weeks ago but ultimately decided to go a different direction.
Will the apology pay off for Brown now? Maybe ... but don't hold your breath.
One more thing ... Tom Brady and AB have still been friendly on social media even after he was cut. And, with Brady recently criticizing the Patriots offense, it's possible the QB is lobbying to bring AB back.