TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said there were no precipitating events that led to Antonio Brown's dramatic exit from Sunday's game against the New York Jets.
Arians, speaking Monday to reporters, said he cares about Brown, who was seen late in the third quarter taking off his jersey and shoulder pads before walking off the field at MetLife Stadium bare-chested.
"I’m not talking about it," Arians said after the game. "He’s not part of the Bucs."
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Arians asked Brown to get into the game, which led to what was captured on camera. From Brown's perspective according to people close to him, Rapoport reports, Brown did not feel healthy enough amid an ankle injury. Brown was cleared to play in the Bucs-Jets matchup.
"I don't know that he was," Arians said Monday when asked about the injury report.
As to what led to Brown's exit, Arians was short: "We had a conversation, and he left the field, yeah."
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who's had a growing friendship with Brown since his time with the New England Patriots, said yesterday the team loved Brown and hoped people "do what they can to help in ways that he really needs it."
Those were shared sentiments.
"I wish him well. I hope if he needs help, gets some. It's very hard because I do care about him," Arians said.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Antonio Brown's career started when he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. A lot of incidents happen between then and when he joined the Bucs a decade later including:
2017: Live stream of the Steelers locker room which went against NFL rules
2019: Disputes with the NFL and the Raiders organization over which helmet to use
2019: Sexual assault accusations from a former trainer
2020: Brown pleads no contest to felony battery and burglary charges after an incident with a moving truck driver in South Florida
A judge ordered him to undergo a psychological evaluation, follow-up treatment and attend an anger management course.
Brown also had to serve an NFL suspension.
Oct. 2020: The Bucs sign Brown to a one-year deal. He helps Tampa Bay win Super Bowl LV.
2021: Brown sits out three games in December after the NFL determines he misrepresented his COVID vaccination status
2022: Brown leaves the sideline in the middle of a Week 17 game against the New York Jets by skipping off the field shirtless.