Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown is telling his side of the story which ended with Brown running off of MetLife Stadium field shirtless during the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
Brown, who was listed as “questionable” on Tampa Bay’s injury report due to an ankle injury leading up to the game against the Jets, claims that he was cut mid-game after informing coaches that he was not healthy enough to play.
“Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured. Despite the pain, I suited up, the staff injected me with what I know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it all for my team,” Brown said in a statement through his attorney Sean Burstyn. “I played until it was clear that I could not use my ankle to safely perform my playing responsibilities.”
After playing for nearly three quarters, Brown said the pain became “extreme,” forcing him to take a seat on the sidelines.
“I took a seat on the sideline and my coach came up to me, very upset, and shouted, ‘What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you?’ I told him, ‘It’s my ankle,’” Brown said in the statement. “But he knew that. It was well documented and we had discussed it. He then ordered me to get on the field. I said, ‘Coach, I can’t.’ He didn’t call for medical attention. Instead, he shouted at me, ‘YOU’RE DONE!’ while he ran his finger across his throat. Coach was telling me that if I didn’t play hurt, then I was done with the Bucs.”
“I didn’t quit. I was cut. I didn’t walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out.”
Brown’s statement contradicts those of his head coach — Bruce Arians — on Monday, who denied being aware of Brown’s injury.
“I don’t know that he was (injured),” Arians said. “It was pretty obvious what happened. He left the field and that was it. We had a conversation and he left the field.”
Brown then revealed that he had an MRI performed on his ankle on Monday which showed “broken bone fragments” in his ankle.
“As part of their ongoing cover-up, they are acting like I wasn’t cut and now demanding that I see a doctor of their choice to examine my ankle,” the statement continued. “What they did not know until now is that on Monday morning I had an urgent MRI on my ankle,” Brown continued. “It shows broken bone fragments stuck in my ankle, the ligament torn from the bone and cartilage loss, which are beyond painful. You can see the bone bulging from the outside. But that must and can be repaired.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2022
In the statement, Brown said that he intends to play in the NFL next season following surgery on his ankle.
On Thursday morning, Brown released what appears to be a text message exchange between him and Arians in the days leading up to the game.
Health over Wealth # Barbarian pic.twitter.com/5pxjpZ6491
— AB (@AB84) January 6, 2022
Heading into the game against the Jets, Brown needed eight more catches to earn a $333,333 bonus, 55 receiving yards to earn another $333,333, and just one more receiving touchdown to earn an additional bonus of $333,333.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].