The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have terminated Antonio Brown’s contract, meaning it will end immediately. Brown said the Super Bowl winners forced him to play with an injured ankle that will require surgery, even though he was in “extreme pain” during Sunday’s win over the New York Jets.
Less than 24 hours after Brown’s allegations, the Buccaneers said they were releasing the wide receiver, who ran off the field in the third quarter of their last game, sparking much controversy.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have terminated the contract of Antonio Brown, effective immediately,” the team said in a statement.
“Although Antonio received treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report in the week leading up to last Sunday’s game, he was cleared to play by our medical team prior to the start of the game and at no point during the game did he notify our medical staff that he cannot play.
“We tried several times this week to schedule an evaluation by an outside orthopedic specialist, but Antonio would not comply. Maintaining the health and well-being of our players is of the utmost importance to our organization.”
Brown first attracted a lot of attention when he quickly left the field at MetLife Stadium. He took off his jersey, pads and undershirt, threw his t-shirt and gloves into the stands and walked off the field as the Bucs were losing.
Then, through his lawyer Sean Burstyn, he gave a lengthy speech on Wednesday. Brown said Bruce Arians fired him after telling him he couldn’t return to the game because of his ankle.
Antonio Brown’s time with the Bucs
|October 27, 2020: Antonio Brown signs with Bucs|
|February 7, 2021: Bucs win Super Bowl, Brown catches TD|
|May 25, 2021: Brown signs one-year extension for $6.25 million|
|December 2, 2021: Brown has been suspended three games by the NFL for misrepresenting his Covid vaccination status|
|January 2, 2021: AB leaves the field midway through the Bucs vs. Jets game; coach Bruce Arians says he’s ‘no longer a Buc’|
|January 3, 2021: Arians denies reports that Brown had an injury that prevented him from playing|
|January 5, 2021: Brown released statement through agent saying he was forced to play injured after ‘dangerous’ injection|
|January 6, 2021: The Buccaneers officially released Brown|
Brown also said an MRI showed pieces of broken bone, a torn ligament and lost cartilage. The next day, Thursday, the 33-year-old wide receiver posted screenshots of what he said were texts he and Arians sent each other before the Jets game.
In it, Brown receives a message that starts with “This is BA” and says, “Make sure you’re ready to go tomorrow. We are NOT resting for the playoffs.”
Brown replies: “I’m all over the coach, I really can’t (sic) get up to full speed. I want to win, I want to be there, if I wake up tomorrow I feel better, I’ll be ready (sic).” Brown tweeted, “Health over wealth #Barbarian,” along with the screenshot.
Antonio Brown was in his second season with the Buccaneers. Last year, he helped Tampa Bay win the Super Bowl. He took to Twitter to say that his teammates, including quarterback Tom Brady, are keeping him safe.
“Don’t get it twisted. My brothers were good to me. From Tom to the training team, we were a top notch unit. They were nice to me and didn’t know anything about my conversations with the coach last week. The team handled this situation incorrectly. They let me down and, more importantly, my teammates.”
Arians Brown didn’t dwell on the injuries
After the team released its statement, head coach Arians talked about what led to the dramatic split at MetLife Stadium. He said he was unaware of the wide receiver’s health issues.
“At no point during that game did he ask the trainer or the doctor about his ankle, that’s the normal protocol,” Arians said.
“I was never made aware of that, so obviously that was the concern when we were looking for him to get back into the game. He was very upset at half-time about who was going to be marked, we calmed him down, the players took care of it.
AB is not crazy
— AB (@AB84) October 29, 2022
“It started again from the touchline, we called the personnel group he played all game, he refused to come into the game. Then I looked back and saw him waving at the coach.”
“I went back and approached him about what was going on, ‘I’m not playing’, ‘What’s going on?’, ‘I’m not going to interfere.’ Then I said “it’s over, get out of here”. And that’s the end.”
Brown’s accusations “hurt” Arians, but he said, “I still just wish the best for him. Just get the help you need.”
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