Antonio Brown Accuses Bucs of 'Ongoing Cover-Up' After Mid-Game Exit: 'They Threw Me Out Like an Animal'

The Tampa Bay wide receiver claims that he was cut by Bucs head coach Bruce Arians after he said he was too hurt to continue playing in the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) is pictured.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 14: Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) is pictured prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 14, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) is pictured.

Antonio Brown released a statement via his lawyer sharing his side of what went down during Sunday night’s game against the Jets. NFL fans were perplexed when Brown walked out of the game during the third quarter after taking off his jersey and now Brown is saying that it was Arians who kicked him out.

The Tampa Bay wide receiver claims that he was cut by Bucs head coach Bruce Arians after he said he was too hurt to continue playing. “Coach was telling me that if I didn’t play hurt, I was done with the Bucs,” Brown claimed. It was after his refusal to play because of his ankle injury that Arians “threw me out like an animal,” Brown added.

Speaking about his injury, Brown said that he got an MRI done on Monday that revealed he had “broken bone fragments,” “ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss,” which he described as being “beyond painful.”

Statement from Antonio Brown via his attorney ⁦@seanburstyn⁩:

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2022

“Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured,” Brown’s statement reads, per the Tampa Bay Times. “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 I gave it my 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.”

Brown continued, “As part of their ongoing cover-up, they are acting like I wasn’t cut and now demanding that I see a doctor of their choice to examine my ankle. What they did not know until now is that on Monday morning I had an urgent MRI on my ankle. It shows broken bone fragments stuck in my ankle, the ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss, which are beyond painful.”

Brown also said that he is “looking forward to next season” after he’s underwent surgery and is “back to 100 percent.”

Despite Arians saying that Brown isn’t on the team anymore, the 33-year-old has yet to be officially released by the Bucs.

You can read Brown’s statement in full below.

Why would they embark on a campaign of false concealment? To avoid responsibility for ignoring the risk of serious injury for the sake of winning a game. Antonio has reflected on this for days and prepared a heartfelt statement that he will release soon. 2/6

— Sean Burstyn (@seanburstyn) January 6, 2022

Sean Burstyn, who is Brown’s attorney, talked about his client and what went down on Sunday in a series of tweets in which he accused the Bucs of “a campaign of false concealment.”

Antonio Brown has released screenshots of his messages with Bucs head coach Bruce Arians 👀 @brgridiron

(via @AB84)

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 6, 2022

On Thursday, Brown released screenshots of alleged text messages between him and Arians.

Bucs’ official statement on terminating the contract of Antonio Brown:

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2022

The text messages include an exchange in which Brown tells Arians about his injury. Arians responds by telling him to come see him the following day.

Later in the day, the Bucs officially released Brown and released the following statement:

Antonio Brown did not tell anyone on the Bucs’ medical staff about his ankle bothering him on gameday before the game against the Jets or during it, per Bucs’ GM Jason Licht.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2022

Adam Schefter reports that Brown didn’t tell the Bucs about his ankle injury prior to the game. 

Bruce Arians explains in detail what happened with Antonio Brown on Sunday.

— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 6, 2022

The team’s GM, Jason Licht, said the Bucs tried to accommodate Brown and his injury, but he failed to cooperate, per Schefter. 

Arians addressed the media on Thursday, and explained in detail what happened on the sidelines on Sunday. Per Arians, Brown was “very upset” about who was getting targeted. Arians denied making a “throat slash” gesture at Brown and said he didn’t force him to play while injured. 

Arians did confirm the veracity of the texts released by Brown earlier in the day.

Read more about Brown’s fall from NFL glory here

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