The Antonio Brown saga is over five days after it started. The former Tampa Bay wide receiver left the field during the Buccaneers’ game against the New York Jets, and now the Bucs have released an official statement saying Brown is no longer a Tampa Bay player.
Medical Team Gave the Green Light Say the Bucs
In their statement, the Bucs said that Brown was cleared to play by the team’s medical team. They also claimed that the wide receiver didn’t indicate to the medical staff at any point during the game that he was not able to play due to his ankle injury.
The Bucs’ statement also read that even though they attempted to evaluate Brown’s injury during the week preceding the event in question, they were not able to do that as Antonio didn’t comply with their requests.
Brown’s Side of the Story
Brown didn’t offer any explanation as to why he exited the Jets game until Wednesday. The wide receiver pulled off his helmet, as well as his jersey and shoulder pads, and exited the field. While running off the field he waved at fans and even did jumping jacks.
On Wednesday, Brown said that he “could not use” his ankle to “safely perform” his playing responsibilities, adding that his pain was “extreme”. He also claimed that coach Bruce Arians approached him and “ordered” him to get on the field. When Brown refused, Arians reportedly told him that he was “done”. Less than 24 hours after releasing this statement, the Bucs decided to cut Brown’s contract short.
Coach Arians’ Side of the Story
When coach Bruce Arians was asked what happened, he was adamant that Brown didn’t ask the team’s doctor about his ankle. The coach said that doing that would have been the normal thing to do as it is part of the protocol during games. So, Arians said he was never told about Brown’s issue.
Arians went on to say that Brown got upset about the players that were targeted at halftime, and his teammates had to calm him down. When they got back on the field, the coach said that Brown started doing the same and refused to go in the game. According to Arians, Antonio Brown then said “I ain’t playin”, removed his helmet, jersey and shoulder pads, and left the field.
Deleted Post with Text Messages
Brown took offence to Arians saying that he never informed him about his injury though and posted screenshots of text messages he sent to coach Bruce Arians and Alex Guerrero, Tom Brady’s trainer.
In the post, the wide receiver later deleted, Arians was trying to convince Brown to have his injury reassessed, as he said he was counting on him. In the conversation Brown allegedly had with Brady’s trainer, he is asking back the US$100,000 he paid Guerrero for treatment.
Bucs Refused to Include US$1 Million Worth of Incentives in Brown’s Contract
According to a report by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the issues Brown had with the Buccaneers went much deeper than the supposed injury he had. Rapoport claimed that Brown asked for incentives worth US$1 million to be included in his contract last week. The Bucs gave a negative response.
Antonio Brown has had his fair share of problems during his career and couldn’t settle with any of the teams he joined. Before his last incident with the Bucs, Brown served a three-game suspension because he misrepresented his vaccination status.
Even when the Bucs signed him in 2020, Brown had just finished serving a suspension for violation of the NFL’s personal-conduct policy that prevented him from playing for eight games. Accusations about the wide receiver sending intimidating messages to a woman were also doing the rounds back then.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers definitely knew the type of player they were getting. However, they must have been surprised by the manner in which Brown’s Tampa Bay tenure ended.