The details surrounding former Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Brown’s abrupt departure from Sunday’s game against the New York Jets continue to emerge.
Following the Buccaneers 28-24 come-from-behind victory Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians announced that Brown was “no longer a Buc” but refused to go into details as to why Brown became upset and left the field.
Brown — who earlier in the season was suspended three-games for misleading the league regarding his vaccination status — also was dealing with an ankle injury that had him listed as “questionable” on the Buccaneers injury report for the game against the Jets.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the Buccaneers coaching staff told Brown to enter the game, but Brown refused as he did not feel that he was healthy enough to enter the game. The coaching staff then threw him off the sidelines and cut him from the team.
“Midway through the game yesterday, Bruce Arians and the offensive staff told Antonio Brown to go into the game,” Rapoport said. “They believed that he was healthy. Antonio Brown did not believe that he was healthy. He had been battling an ankle injury for the last several weeks. He did not practice Thursday, did not practice Friday, and I know personally had some doubts whether or not he would be able to be out there and play.”
“What he told the staff, from what I understand, is he was not going into the game because in his mind he did not feel he was healthy,” Rapoport continued. “The response then from the offensive coaches and from Bruce Arians was if you are not going to go into the game when we tell you to go into the game, then you cannot be here. At that point, they threw him off the sidelines and then cut him from the team.”
Entering the game, 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 additional $333,333.
“They essentially told him that on the sideline,” Rapoport said. “Sent him packing, leaving Antonio Brown with a $1 million incentive right within his reach. He was going to get it. He left all of that, left the field and is no longer a member of the Buccaneers.”
From @GMFB: How and why did #Bucs WR Antonio Brown end up storming off the field shirtless to end his Tampa Bay career? pic.twitter.com/nd6xq0xMLp
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 3, 2022
On Monday, Arians said that Brown did not tell him that he was unable to enter the game due to an injury.
“I don’t know that he was (injured),” Arians said Monday. “It was pretty obvious what happened. He left the field and that was it. We had a conversation and he left the field.”
Brown played in his first game since week six in Tampa Bay’s victory over the Carolina Panthers in week 16. He had 10 catches for 101 yards, but reportedly tweaked his already injured ankle during the game. Brown had three catches for 26 yards against the Jets before he abruptly left the field.
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].
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