Tampa Bay Buccaneers Receiver Antonio Brown Claims Injury Before Jersey-Throwing Exit: Update

UPDATE: Antonio Brown said on Wednesday that an injured ankle was behind his refusal to go into the Tampa Bay/New York Jets game.

Brown said he was going to have surgery on the injury, which he claimed the Buccaneers covered up and forced him into playing while hurt.

“Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach [Bruce Arians] to play injured,” Brown said in a statement via his attorney Sean Burstyn. “Despite the pain, I suited up, the staff injected me with what I know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it all for my team.”

While on the sidelines, Brown said he told Arians he couldn’t go back in the game. That’s when he was told that he was “done.” He then doffed his equipment, threw his jersey into the crowd, and ran off the field.

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By leaving, Brown missed out on approimately $1 million in bonus money he was close to attaining and a possible injury settlement if the damage is career-ending. Arians said after the game that Brown was no longer on the team, but later expressed concern for his mental health.

EARLIER: Controversial Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown may have exited football on his own terms.

During the third quarter of today’s away game against the New York Jets, Brown took off his shoulder pads and jersey, ran across the field, then tossed his jersey and other equipment into the stands. He then trotted shirtless into the locker room, flashing the crowd a peace sign as his teammates and coaches looked on in astonishment.

The Bucs were surprisingly trailing the Jets 24-17 at the time of Brown’s exit. He had to that point caught three passes for 26 yards on five targets during the game. The Bucs eventually rallied in the game’s last minutes without Brown, coming back from a 24-10 deficit to win, 28-24.

One of the league’s most talented wideouts, Brown has been involved in controversies throughout his career.

Last month, he was suspended by the NFL for three games for having a fake vaccination card. In April last year, he settled a lawsuit brought by his former trainer who had accused him of rape and sexual assault. He also had cycled through several teams, including stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, and New England Patriots.

The 33-year-old Brown has likely burned his final bridge with his behavior today. He also may have cost himself a large amount of money. His contract calls for $1 million in potential incentives. According to Spotrac, Brown was eight catches away from a $333,333 bonus, 55 receiving yards away from another $333,333 bonus and a receiving touchdown short of a third $333,333 bonus.

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