Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown is in the news for all the wrong reasons once again.
This past Sunday, Brown was seen running off the field during Tampa Bay’s game against the New York Jets. He exited the game while stripping off his jersey and gesturing to fans inside MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Following Tampa Bay’s comeback win, head coach Bruce Arians announced that Antonio Brown was no longer a member of the team.
Two days later, and the enigmatic seven-time Pro Bowler still has not been released by the Buccaneers. Some believe that it’s due to the team wanting to avoid him signing with a playoff rival.
For his part, Brown’s camp has leaked that he was dealing with an injury and unable to return to the game.
“What he told the staff, from what I understand, is that he was not going into the game because, in his mind, he did not feel he was healthy,” NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported early Monday morning. “The response then from the offensive coaches and from Bruce Arians was, ‘If you are not gonna 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.”
We now have more information on this via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
“Antonio’s friends were worried about the pain he was experiencing so they encouraged him to see a top surgeon outside the Bucs’ organization. That visit and an MRI confirm his serious pain and that story is developing,” Stroud noted on Twitter. “Antonio is known for having a high pain threshold but the belief is Antonio probably should’ve never been on the field to begin with Sunday. And official statement from Brown’s camp will be issued soon. They have stayed quiet since Sunday.”
This could very well explain why Tampa Bay has not yet made Brown’s release official. Depending on the outcome of the MRI referenced above, the team might actually be in the wrong when it comes to the situation we saw unfold Sunday afternoon in New Jersey.
What is going on with Antonio Brown and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
We’ll have to wait for further word from Brown’s camp before delving further into this. However, it also must be noted that the star receiver was seen jumping around on his ankle as he exited the game. It’s right there on video for everyone to see.
For his part, Arians made it clear that Brown did not claim he was injured before leaving the game.
With 30-plus years of coaching experience in the NFL and highly respected around the league, it’s hard to envision Arians forcing an injured player back into a game. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense.
All of this comes after Brown was suspended three games by the NFL for allegedly facking his COVID-19 vaccine card. Sunday represented just his second game back from the aforementioned suspension.
A member of the Buccaneers since the start of the 2020 season, Brown saw his tenures with the Pittsburgh Steelers, then-Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots end in dramatic fashion. That includes a rift with then-Steelers teammate Ben Roethlisberger and multiple off-field incidents.
Since joining the Bucs, Brown has recorded 87 receptions for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games.
We’ll have more on this developing story as it breaks.