Wide receiver Antonio Brown took to social media Thursday morning to share text messages allegedly sent to Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians. in which the two appeared to recognize Brown dealing with an ankle injury.
In the messages, which are dated Thursday, December 30 and Friday, January 1, Brown sends Arians a photo of him receiving treatment on his right ankle, writing in a later message: “I want to win, I want to be there if I wake up. Tomorrow I feel better, I’ll be ready to take him out in 2 game points. “
To which the Arians replied: “Come see me [in] the morning. We will talk. I definitely want him with us in case he’s ready. “
On Wednesday night, Brown issued a statement, through his attorney Sean Burstyn, accusing the team of executing a “continuous cover-up.”
In the lengthy statement, Brown said he relented when a coach pressured him to play with an ankle injury, and was injected with what he describes as a “powerful and sometimes dangerous pain reliever.”
When the pain became too much and limited his performance, Brown said he exited the game and sat on the bench, where he claims a coach warned him to return to the field.
“I said, ‘It’s my ankle.’ But he knew. It was well documented and we had discussed it, ”Brown wrote. “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. “
Brown’s attorney said in a statement that the wide receiver underwent an MRI on Monday, which revealed bone and ligament damage that would require surgery.
After Sunday’s game, in which Brown left the field shirtless in the third quarter, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Brown did not mention an injury before leaving the field, a claim Brown said Wednesday that it was “100% inaccurate”.
The NFL Network reported earlier in the week that Brown told the Buccaneers coaching staff that he did not believe his ankle was healthy enough to continue playing, before his midgame outing against the Jets on Sunday. Adding, in a report, that when the Buccaneers coaches asked Brown to enter the game, in the second half of Sunday’s eventual 28-24 win, Brown told them he didn’t want to get back in because in his mind he didn’t I believed it was healthy enough to do it.
The Buccaneers coaches, however, believed he was healthy and told him if he wasn’t going to get into the game when they told him he couldn’t be with the team, according to the NFL Network.
While Arians said after the win that Brown “is no longer a Buc,” as of Thursday morning, Brown has yet to be officially released.
In two seasons with the Buccaneers, Brown had 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns. He had three receptions for 26 yards in Sunday’s game before the incident.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.