In a statement posted to their Twitter account Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced they had officially released wide receiver Antonio Brown. His release comes four days after he appeared to storm off the field during the Buccaneers’ 28-24 win over the New York Jets. As shown in the video above, Brown removed his jersey, shoulder pads, undershirt and gloves, then left the field after a sideline exchange with coach Bruce Arians. After the game, Arians said Brown “is no longer a Buc.” During a news conference following Brown’s release Thursday, Arians elaborated on what happened Sunday.
“He was very upset at halftime about who was getting targeted,” Arians said, according to a video also posted on the Buccaneers Twitter account. “I then went back approached him about what was going on. ‘I ain’t playing, what’s going on, I ain’t getting the ball.’ That’s when I said ‘You’re done. Get the eff out here.'”
Arians’ account of Sunday’s incident was markedly different than Brown’s, who broke his silence on the matter via a statement from his lawyer Wednesday. In that statement, Brown accused Arians of forcing Brown to play while injured.
“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, according to a tweet from ESPN Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter. “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.”
According to the statement, a Monday morning MRI revealed “broken bone fragments… the ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss” in one of Brown’s ankles. In their statement announcing Brown’s release, the Buccaneers acknowledged “Antonio did receive treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday’s game.” However, they also said “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 indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play.”
“We have attempted, multiple times throughout this week, to schedule an evaluation by an outside orthopedic specialist, yet Antonio has not complied,” the Buccaneers said.
Brown has been a source of controversy before. Sunday’s incident came about a month after he was busted for sharing a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.