Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown accused the team of putting a “spin” on why he walked off the field last Sunday, and if it’s true, it doesn’t look good for management.
NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted a statement Brown released via his lawyer on Wednesday night, which tells a different story than the one head coach Bruce Arians gave to the press on Sunday.
Arians said he told Brown to get in the game twice, but the receiver refused both times, so he told him to get out. “Never seen anything like that in all my years,” said about Brown stripping off his jersey and walking out of Metlife stadium while his team was down to the Jets.
Brown claimed it went down differently. He said he “relented to pressure directly” from Arians to play while his ankle was 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 I gave it my all for my team,” the statement read.
He played until it was clear he couldn’t use his ankle and was in extreme pain. When he sat down on the sideline, Arians shouted, “What’s wrong with you?” twice, and when Brown said it was his ankle, the head coach ordered him onto the field.
When Brown told him he couldn’t, Arians didn’t call for medical attention, and instead screamed, “You’re done,” and ran his finger across his throat in what Brown interpreted as miming him being cut from the team.
He then accused Arians of denying that he knew about the ankle injury, which he noted was the reason he missed several games and had been on the injury list, but was a complaint he had also exchanged texts with Arians about the day prior. He said the team’s general manager acknowledged that he told Arians about his ankle pain on Sunday via text.
Brown acknowledged that he did walk off the field, but that there is a “major difference between launching from the line and taking hits, compared to jogging off the field” in an emotional state.
“First they cut me. Now they cage me. Instead of asking how I felt or getting to the bottom of it, the team texted my camp promoting a totally false narrative that I randomly acted out without any explanation,” he continued.
Brown said the team is promoting a narrative that he walked off the field, then was cut, but he maintains, “I was cut first and then went home. They threw me out like an animal and I refused to wear their brand on my body, so I took off my jersey.”