Bruce Arians was blunt when the Buccaneers signed Antonio Brown that he wouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt if he caused any drama in Tampa Bay.
“He messes it up once, he’s gone,” Arians said in October 2020.
Brown caused no problems during his first calendar year with the Buccaneers. But in the final leg of the 2021 NFL season, he drew attention for all the wrong reasons, and that led to his abrupt release from the team during a Week 17 win over the Jets.
That is not a big surprise. Brown came to the Buccaneers with a checkered history that included off-field problems with the Steelers and stints with the Bills, Raiders and Patriots that were derailed by his antics.
Here’s a chronological look at Brown’s legal troubles, team-to-team movement, suspension history, and more.
MORE: What to know about the Antonio Brown lawsuit
December 30, 2018 – Antonio Brown benched by Steelers
Before the final week of the 2018 season, Brown had just gained notoriety for his productive receiving seasons with the Steelers. Go out and take 100 passes, wash, rinse and repeat.
Before week 17, Brown was given a “day off” on Wednesday. He then did not practice for the rest of the week due to what was billed as a knee injury. Brown was inactive for the Pittsburgh game that Sunday, and coach Mike Tomlin said the bench was due to “injury and lack of information.” Reports later emerged that Brown had thrown a soccer ball at Ben Roethlisberger during the week, and that he was angry that JuJu Smith-Schuster was named the team’s MVP.
February 19, 2019: Steelers agree to trade Antonio Brown
Two weeks after Brown was convicted of reckless driving, Brown met with Steelers owner Art Rooney II. They agreed to separate. The Steelers made it clear that they would seek fair market value in exchange for Brown in a trade.
March 7, 2019: Antonio Brown to the Bills?
For a short evening, it looked like Brown would be a Buffalo Bill.
Reports surfaced that Brown would be traded to Buffalo as a new target for young quarterback Josh Allen. Those rumors were quickly squashed and Brown himself commented on an Instagram post announcing the “fake news” deal.
March 10, 2019: Raiders acquire Antonio Brown
The then Oakland Raiders traded a third and fifth round pick to the Steelers to acquire Brown.
Brown almost immediately became the highest paid receiver in the NFL when the Raiders signed him to a three-year deal worth $ 50 million. A total of $ 30 million was guaranteed from that contract.
August 3, 2019: foot problems
Brown entered a cryotherapy machine without proper footwear. For the uninitiated, cryotherapy uses extreme cold / ice to treat injuries.
Brown posted a photo of his mangled feet on August 3, and on Hard Knocks, he was shown saying “My feet were circumcised.” Coming to his first Raiders camp with foot problems didn’t get Brown started.
August 9, 2019 – Helmet issues
Updated NFL helmet safety standards prevented Brown from wearing the same helmet he had worn throughout his career. The problem took about a month to resolve.
Some of the drama included reports of Brown threatening to retire, complaints filed, and Brown spray painting his old helmet. Brown chose a new helmet in early September and said it made him feel “nimble and comfortable.”
September 5, 2019: Missing work and fighting with GM
Brown was fined nearly $ 54,000 for missing team practice. He posted the letter to his disgust on Instagram.
Reports indicated that Brown lashed out at general manager Mike Mayock because he was unhappy with the fine and had to be held. According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Brown repeatedly called Mayock a “cracker.” The incident started the Raiders’ process of investigating how to free Brown and avoid paying him the guaranteed $ 30 million owed to him. The next day, coach Jon Gruden said Brown would play in Week 1 against the Broncos.
Brown also posted a video of a private phone conversation between him and Gruden, which has since been edited to exclude the conversation on YouTube. The video featured Brown saying, “Man, I’ve been trying to be a Raider since day one.”
September 7, 2019 – Raiders release Antonio Brown; Patriots sign AB
Brown requested a release on his Instagram less than 24 hours after Gruden said he would play in Week 1. The Raiders found a way to escape Brown’s guaranteed money, fined for conduct detrimental to the team. On September 7, the Raiders released Brown.
The Patriots wasted no time signing Brown and agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $ 15 million that included a $ 9 million signing bonus. New England quarterback Tom Brady helped house Brown when he first came to town.
September 10, 2019: Antonio Brown is sued for sexual assault
Brown’s former coach, Britney Taylor, accused him of raping her in a lawsuit filed on this date in federal court. The lawsuit alleges that Brown sexually assaulted Taylor on three different occasions in 2017 and 2018.
The NFL launched an investigation into the matter. As of November 2020, the lawsuit has not been resolved.
September 15, 2019: Antonio Brown plays for the Patriots
Brown played a game for the Patriots. He caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. New England got Brown three of his four catches on his first drive.
September 20, 2019: Patriots release Antonio Brown
A few days after Brown’s debut with the Patriots, a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct. Brown reportedly responded by sending threatening text messages to that woman.
Brown was released by the Patriots on September 20 while the NFL investigated the multiple allegations against him.
July 30, 2020: Antonio Brown suspended eight games
Brown received an eight-game suspension from the NFL, not because of the sexual assault allegations but because of a separate incident in January 2020. He was in violation of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
The suspension stemmed from Brown’s arrest in January in connection with the attack on the driver of a moving company truck. Brown’s initial charge was a felony assault and battery, and in March the charges rendered included theft of a vehicle, misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor criminal mischief.
Oct 23, 2020: Buccaneers sign Antonio Brown
The Buccaneers signed Brown to a deal for the remainder of the 2020 season. Brown will reportedly be paid a maximum of $ 2.5 million in 2020, with most of that coming through incentives. Your prorated base salary would be about $ 750,000.
Tampa Bay signed Brown before Week 8, which he would miss while serving the last game of his eight-game suspension that was counted for each week of the season even though Brown was only on one list during one of those eight weeks. .
November 8, 2020: Antonio Brown makes his Buccaneers debut
Brown returned to practice in Week 9 before Tampa Bay’s “Sunday Night Football” game against the Saints. It is scheduled to make its season debut in prime time.
Buccaneers Coach Bruce Arians said that Brown could see 10 plays or 35 plays, depending on the condition he’s in and how he plays.
December 2, 2021: Antonio Brown suspended for supplying the NFL with a false vaccination card
The NFL launched an investigation into Brown’s vaccination status after his personal chef accused him of providing the league with a bogus vaccination card. The league found the allegations against him and his teammate Mike Edwards to be accurate and suspended him three games for misrepresenting his vaccination status.
There was some speculation that the Buccaneers would cut Brown, as Arians had previously said about Brown: “He messes it up once, he’s gone.”
However, Arians and the Bucs decided to hold him after the incident.
“It’s the best for our soccer team,” he said, via The Athletic’s Greg Auman. “Both guys have served their time and we will welcome them.”
December 27, 2021: Antonio Brown criticizes journalists after returning from suspension
Brown was asked multiple times to address his suspension after his return to the Buccaneers. He repeatedly declined and accused reporters of bringing up the “drama” after his return.
“Guys, it’s all drama,” Brown said. “It’s about football. We’re here to talk about Carolina or I don’t want to talk to you.”
January 2, 2022 – Antonio Brown strips off his clothes and runs off the field during the Jets game
During the Buccaneers’ Week 17 game against the Jets, Antonio Brown came off the field in a strange way. He was seen on the bench in uniform and chatting with Mike Evans. Then, he took off his jersey, pads, jersey, and gloves and threw his shirt into the crowd.
Brown then proceeded to run shirtless to the Bucs’ locker room. He ran across the field and showed a peace sign to Jets fans after jumping up and down in the end zone.
After the game, Arians said that Brown’s time as a buccaneer had come to an end.
“He’s not a Buc anymore,” he said. “That’s the end of the story, let’s talk about the guys who came out and won the game.”
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from its original version published on November 23, 2020.
Jacob Camenker contributed.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.