TAMPA, Fla — Antonio Brown is ready to tell his side of what happened before his bizarre exit in Tampa Bay's Sunday game against the New York Jets. The wide receiver said his ankle was injured beyond a point that he could "safely perform."
In a statement obtained from Brown's agent, Sean Burstyn, Brown explains what happened Sunday and his plans for the future.
"First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to the Bucs, fans, and my teammates. The Bucs helped me return to productive football after I had difficulties that could have ended my career. We worked together to resolve those difficulties, and I will always appreciate that. Being part of a Super Bowl champion team and then a contender is a dream come true.
I make mistakes. I’m working on myself and I have positive influences around me. But one thing I don’t do is shy away from playing hard on the field. No one can accuse me of not giving it my all every play."
Brown would go on to say head coach Bruce Arians pressured him to play through his injury, but he "relented."
"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."
After feeling like he couldn't play on his ankle anymore, Brown said he took a seat, at which point Arians approached him.
"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!'"
Brown added that "I didn't quit. I was cut." He then ends the statement by saying he plans to return to football once he is back to 100 percent.
The Tampa Bay Buccanneers said they would not immediately provide a statement on Brown's comments.
When asked if Brown had been released from the team or not following Sunday's game, head coach Bruce Arians said that decision would be left up to the team's general manager, Jason Licht.