Antonio Brown says he did not quit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the middle of a game Sunday, but was cut after refusing to play due to an ankle injury that put him out of the game for several weeks this season.
The often-struggling wide receiver removed his jersey, shoulder pads and jersey before coming off the bench during Sunday’s win over the New York Jets, said in a statement released by his attorney that he was pressured to play. . He claims Bucs coach Bruce Arians fired him when the player told the coach he couldn’t re-enter the game because of his ankle.
“I got off the field,” Brown said in the statement. “But there is a big difference between throwing from the line and taking hits, compared to jogging off the field with a flood of emotions running through your mind. I am reflecting on my reaction, but there was a trigger. The trigger was that someone told me that I could not feel pain. “
Although he did not specify which ankle was injured, Brown said in the statement that an MRI on Monday showed broken bone fragments, a torn ligament and loss of cartilage “which are beyond painful. You can see the bulging bone from the outside. “
Arians said the day after the game that Brown did not claim he was injured when he refused to continue playing against the Jets. The coach declined to discuss the details of the conversation on the bench, saying he “had no idea” why the catcher reacted by walking off the field, throwing some of his gear into the stands and waving to fans at MetLife Stadium. .
Brown told a different story in his statement.
“Due to my commitment to the game, I gave in to direct pressure from my coach to play injured,” he said. “Despite the pain, I got dressed, the staff injected me with what I now know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous pain reliever that the NFLPA warned against using, and I gave it my all for the team. I played until it became clear that I couldn’t use my ankle to safely fulfill my gaming responsibilities.
“Besides that, the pain was extreme. I sat on the sidelines and my coach came up to me, very upset, and yelled at me: ‘What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you?’ I said, ‘It’s my ankle.’ But he knew. It was well documented and we had discussed it.
“Then he ordered me to go out into the field. I said, ‘Coach, I can’t.’ He did not ask for medical attention. Instead, he yelled at me, ‘YOU’RE DONE!’ as he ran his finger down his throat. The coach told me that if I didn’t play it hurt, then I was done with the Bucs. “
Although Arians said after the game that Brown was no longer part of the reigning Super Bowl champs, the 33-year-old catcher who caught a pass in his last 144 games remained on the roster Wednesday.
Wednesday’s injury report noted that Brown’s absence from practice “was not related to an injury, but was personal.”
When asked about the team not making an official transaction regarding Brown, who did not accompany the team back to Tampa after Sunday’s game, Arians responded, “It’s a management decision on what’s going on at this moment”.
On whether it was simply a question of how Brown will be eliminated from the team, not whether, Arians said, “Right.”
The team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Brown’s statement Wednesday night. The receiver alleged a cover-up.
“I did not quit. They cutted me. I did not get away from my brothers. They fired me, ”said Brown’s statement.
“Getting fired on the bench for having a painful injury was bad enough. Then came his ‘twist’. The coach denied on national television that he knew about my ankle. That’s 100% inaccurate, ”added the receiver. “Not only did he know that I missed several games because of the injury, he and I exchanged text messages days before the game in which he clearly acknowledged my injury.”
Brown injured his ankle during a victory at Philadelphia in mid-October. He returned to the lineup against Carolina on December 26, after serving a three-game suspension for misrepresenting his Covid-19 vaccination status.
Brown has a history of trouble off the field in recent years. In Wednesday’s statement, he attacked the Buccaneers for implying that Sunday’s incident was due to a “mental health problem” rather than an injury problem.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism