Antonio Brown has given his side of the story in lengthy statement originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston.
Antonio Brown wants to clear the air in the wake of his bizarre exit from Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets.
Brown abruptly ripped off his uniform, waved to the crowd, and left MetLife Stadium after a disagreement with Bucs head coach Bruce Arians. The entire incident occurred as Tampa Bay’s offense was on the field during the third quarter.
On Wednesday, Brown shared his side of the story through his attorney, Sean Burstyn. In the lengthy statement, Brown claims Arians tried to make him play through his ankle injury. Arians has denied that Brown mentioned the injury before storming off the field.
“Because of my commitment to the game, I relented pressure directly from my coach to play injured. Despite the pain, I suited up, the staff injected me with what I now know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and gave it all for the team. I played until it was clear that I could not use my ankle to safely perform my playing responsibilities. On top of that, the pain was extreme. I took a seat on the sideline and my coach came up to me, very upset, and shouted, ‘What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you?’ I told him, ‘It’s my ankle.’ But he knew that. It was well-documented and we had discussed it. He then ordered me to get on the field. I said, ‘Coach, I can’t.’ He didn’t call for medical attention. Instead, he shouted at me, ‘YOU’RE DONE!’ while he ran his finger across his throat. Coach was telling me that if I didn’t play hurt, then I was done with the Bucs.
“I didn’t quit. I was cut. I didn’t walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out. Being fired on the sideline for having a painful injury was bad enough. Then came their ‘spin.’ Coach denied on national television that he knew about my ankle. That’s 100% inaccurate. Not only did he know I missed several games with the injury, he and I exchanged texts days before the game where he clearly acknowledged my injury. He obviously knew I was on the injury list. And the GM acknowledged after the game in text messages to my camp that I did tell coach about my ankle pain on Sunday.”
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Brown goes on to reveal he had an MRI on his ankle on Monday that “shows broken bone fragments stuck in my ankle, the ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss, which are beyond painful.” He will undergo surgery.
Brown has not officially been released by the Buccaneers as of Wednesday, but it’s clear his time in Tampa Bay is all but over. As for his time in the NFL…
“Once my surgery is complete, I’ll be back to 100% and looking forward to next season,” he wrote. “Business gonna be BOOMIN!”
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Time will tell whether that’s the case.