Some news outlets are reporting that an outburst by Tampa Bay Buccaneers star wide receiver Antonio Brown got him fired. Others claim he is still with the pro football team.
Brown stripped off his uniform and stormed off the field during a Jan. 2 game against the New York Jets. Some are blaming it on a meltdown and mental health crisis, but it seems that Brown might have stormed off for another reason.
Tampa Bay head Coach Bruce Arians and Brown had a disagreement over his physical ability to play. After they argued over his ankle injury, a shirtless Brown made his grand exit in the middle of the third quarter.
Arians and the coaching staff had told Brown to go into the game, but Brown felt his ankle wasn’t strong enough, The New York Daily News reportedAniview code:
Brown, who missed the last two team practices due to his ankle injury, said he did not think he was up to it. After Brown’s argument with the coaches, his teammates Mike Evans and O.J. Howard tried to calm him down. But Brown took off his jersey, pads, and undershirt and threw his shirt and gloves into the stands. He then ran across the end zone while both teams were on the field and waved to fans as he exited to the locker room, ESPN reported.
Arians said after the game that Brown was “no longer a Buc,” ESPN reported. “He is no longer a Buc,” Arians said post-game, which the Buccaneers won 28-24 over the New York Jets. “That’s the end of the story. Let’s talk about the guys that went out there and won the game.”
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But there has been no official statement from the team.
“Why do people assume Antonio Brown’s CTE is the primary factor for his behavior. He could be a Kanye West that happens to play football,” tweeted The Moguldom Nation CEO Jamarlin Martin.
CTE stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease caused by repeated head injuries that can’t be confirmed until after death, Inside Hook reported. It can cause erratic behavior, according to studies. When asked about CTE in 2021, Brown downplayed his head injuries, saying, “If I had CTE I wouldn’t be able to have this beautiful gym, I wouldn’t be able to be creative. I wouldn’t be able to communicate.”
He added, “I’m perfectly fine. I didn’t take that many big hits. I had like one big hit in 10 years. Anybody who plays this game, they’re going to get hit hard. He didn’t hit me that hard. You know, I got up and walked off the field. We won the game. I was all right. You play the game long enough, everyone get hit hard.”
Brown has had a troubled career. He was deactivated from the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 17 game in December 2018 after reportedly throwing a ball at a teammate during practice. And by February 2019, he was off the team, later being traded to the Raiders.
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In August 2019, Brown missed Raiders training camp practices due to helmet grievances, ESPN reported. A month later, he was dropped by the Raiders after he made an Instagram post requesting release.
Brown moved on to the Patriots after signing a one-year deal worth up to $15 million. Days later, ex-trainer Britney Taylor accused Brown of sexual assault. The Patriots immediately released Brown.
On Jan. 22, 2020, Brown was charged with felony burglary with battery and two misdemeanors for an incident with a moving truck company he had hired. He pleaded no contest and received no jail time.
The NFL suspended him for eight games on July 31, 2020, due to multiple violations of the its personal conduct policy.
By October 2020, Brown had signed a one-year contract with the Buccaneers, helping the team win Super Bowl LV in February 2021. Brown re-signed with the Buccaneers but was suspended in December 2021 for three games for faking his covid-19 vaccination status.
Photo: Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) walks on the field during an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Jan. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)