Wide receiver Antonio Brown insists that He didn’t quit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, claiming instead that he was “fired on the bench for having a painful injury.”
In a lengthy statement released Wednesday night by his attorney Sean Burstyn, Brown presented his version of what happened in the gang confrontation that led to his expulsion from the team and called Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians’ account “100% inaccurate.”
Brown said that, against his better judgment, he “gave in to direct pressure from my coach to play” through an ankle injury in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets and that the Buccaneers staff ” he injected what I now know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous pain reliever that the (NFL Players Association) has warned against using. ” Brown added that he “gave everything for the team,” but that once it became clear that he couldn’t play safely at a high level, he sat down, which he said upset Arians.
The coach said on Monday that medical personnel did not inform him that Brown was injured in any way, but Arians declined to convey the content of the conversation he had with Brown.
When asked about Brown’s reason for taking off the pads and jersey and subsequently giving up the fans and leaving the field, Arians said, “You’ll have to ask him bro.”
Brown alleged he had an altercation with Arians over his health before the coach told him he was no longer part of the team for refusing to play.
“As part of their ongoing cover-up, they are acting like they didn’t cut me and are now demanding that I see a doctor of their choice to examine my ankle,” Brown said.
Brown added that an MRI scan on Monday morning revealed broken bone fragments stuck in his ankle and that he will undergo surgery. He promised that, once healthy, he will return to the NFL.
The Buccaneers have yet to formally fire Brown, but Arians said Wednesday the next move was an “administrative decision” at this time.
The last line of the statement read: “I will be back 100% and I look forward to next season. Business is going to be BOOMIN! “
A spokesperson for the Buccaneers told USA TODAY Sports that the team had no comment on Brown’s claims.
This is now the fourth team to be separated from Brown. The Pittsburgh Steelers traded him to the Oakland Raiders after repeated clashes with members of the organization. Brown then faced Raiders management during the 2019 preseason and then forced his release before playing a game for the team. He then signed with New England, but played in just one game before the Patriots cut him after reports became public that Brown threatened a woman accusing him of sexual harassment. Brown signed with Tampa Bay after serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy and helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl last year, catching a touchdown pass in a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
This season, Brown had appeared in just seven games amid injuries, testing positive for COVID-19 and a three-game suspension for providing a forged vaccination card.
Brown had 10 receptions for 101 yards on his return from suspension in Week 16. But Week 17 saw him record three receptions for 26 yards before his bizarre outing.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism