Antonio Brown’s messy exit from Tampa was finalized Thursday as the Buccaneers announced that he has officially been released from the team.
Prior to the announcement, the embattled wide receiver posted a pair of text message exchanges on Twitter: one, purportedly, with Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and another he claims was with Tom Brady’s longtime trainer, Alex Guerrero
Brown has been under fire since his bizarre departure in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Following an argument with Arians and heated discussions with teammates, the 33-year-old bolted from the sidelines and removed his jersey before jogging off the field.
After Tampa Bay’s come-from-behind win, Arians said Brown was ‘no longer a Buc.’ However, the team did not officially release the seven-time Pro Bowl selection until Thursday.
The team released also released a statement defending the organization against Brown’s claims that he was pressured to play while injured.
‘While Antonio did receive treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday’s game, he was cleared to play by our medical team prior to the start of the game and at no point during the game did he indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play,’ read a team statement.
‘We have attempted, multiple times throughout this week, to schedule an evaluation by an outside orthopedic specialist, yet Antonio has not complied. Maintaining the health and wellness of our players is of the utmost importance to our organization.’
Brown has insisted that he was cut by Arians on the sideline when he refused to re-enter Sunday’s game due to a lingering ankle problem, and on Thursday, he shared a text exchange, which ostensibly shows him informing the Coach about his injury on December 30.
Embattled NFL star Antonio Brown claims he was suffering a severe ankle injury and that he’d been injected with a dangerous painkiller by Tampa Bay Buccaneers medical staff shortly before he stormed off the field, possibly, for the final time in his career on Sunday in New York
Brown has insisted that he was cut by Arians on the sideline when he refused to re-enter Sunday’s game due to a lingering ankle problem, and on Thursday, he shared a text exchange, which ostensibly shows him informing the Coach about his injury on December 30
In this portion of the exchange, Brown appears to tell Arians that he remains injured
‘This is BA,’ read the text message, purportedly from Arians. ‘Make sure your (sic) ready to go tomorrow. We ARE NOT resting for the playoffs.’
Buccaneers spokespeople did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request to confirm that it was, indeed, Arians who sent that text to Brown.
Brown responded the following day, saying he was ‘all in coach’ before adding that he can’t ‘get to full speed.’
‘If I wake up tomorrow [and] feel better I’ll be ready,’ read Brown’s response. ‘I want what’s best for team [let me know] when you [are] free [and] I’ll call [you].’
In response, Brown was told: ‘Come see me [in] the morning. We’ll talk it out. Definitely want you with us in case you’re ready.’
The caption ‘health before wealth’ was included in Brown’s post.
Brown was on the Bucs’ injury report with an ankle problem leading up to Sunday’s game, where he had three catches for 26 yards before his sideline dispute with Arians.
In a since-deleted post, Brown also shared a purported exchange between himself and Guerrero, Brady’s longtime trainer and business partner, who also had been working with the receiver. The conversation, which appears to have occurred on December 24, shows the two severing their partnership amicably. Brown received a polite response, agreeing to repay the balance of what he was owed. It’s unclear why Brown shared that exchange, which he also posted on Instagram, but the receiver appears to be upset about his dealings with Guerrero
(Left) Tom Brady pictured alongside his longtime trainer and business partner, Alex Guerrero, who apparently had been working with Brown. (Right) Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians
In a since-deleted post, Brown also shared a purported exchange between himself and Guerrero, Brady’s longtime trainer and business partner, who also had been working with the receiver.
The conversation, which appears to have occurred on December 24, shows the two severing their partnership amicably.
‘Hey Ag if we not going to work any more (sic) that’s fine,’ Brown wrote. ‘[Let me know] about the [$100,000] I paid you only fair get back half my money [let me know] how to proceed.’
Brown received a polite response, agreeing to repay the balance of what he was owed.
‘Good morning AB,’ Brown was told, allegedly, by Guerrero. ‘I appreciate you reaching out to me. I completely understand that you want to go in a different direction. Thank you for the opportunity to work together. You are a wonderful person. I hope for your continued success on and off the field. Please let me know where you want me to send the balance. Big hugs my friend.’
It’s unclear why Brown shared that exchange, which he also posted on Instagram, but the receiver appears to be upset about his dealings with Guerrero.
‘@tombrady guy @ag_tb12 charging me 100k never doing the work on me!’ Brown wrote on Instagram. ‘How [do you] even work [with] people like this! (sic) This what I was dealing [with].’
A N.J. State Police trooper, background, watches as Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown throws his gloves into the stands in his infamous walk-off Sunday
Brown is now claiming that he didn’t walk off but was told ‘You’re Done!’ by Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians for refusing to enter the game after a ‘dangerous’ painkiller injection
Thursday’s social media posts followed Brown’s statement on Wednesday night, which claimed he was fired by Arians when he was unable to re-enter Sunday’s game due to his ankle injury.
While not specifying which ankle was hurt, Brown – through a statement released by his attorney Wednesday – said an MRI performed Monday showed broken bone fragments, a ligament tear and cartilage loss ‘which are beyond painful. You can see the bone bulging from the outside.’
Brown is seen at the game sporting a face mask and his custom pendant of a bee with butterfly wings in a No. 84 jersey at Monday’s Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center. The pendant was made to honor Muhammad Ali
Arians said the day after the game that Brown did not claim he was injured when he refused to continue playing against the Jets. The coach declined to discuss specifics of the conversation on the sideline and said he had ‘no clue’ why the receiver reacted by storming off the field, tossing some of his gear into the stands and waving to fans at MetLife Stadium.
Brown told a different story in his statement.
‘Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured,’ he said. ‘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.’
Through his attorney, Brown released a statement explaining his exit from Sunday’s game
Although Arians said after the game that Brown was no longer a part of the reigning Super Bowl champions, the 33-year-old receiver who’s caught a pass in his last 144 games remained on the roster Wednesday.
Wednesday’s injury report noted Brown’s absence from practice was ‘not injury related – personal.’
Asked about the team not making an official transaction in regard to Brown, who did not accompany the team back to Tampa following Sunday’s game, Arians replied: ‘It’s a management decision on what is happening right now.’
On whether it was simply a matter of how Brown will be removed the team, not if, Arians said: ‘Right.’
The team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Brown’s statement Wednesday night.
The receiver is alleging a coverup.
‘I didn’t quit,’ read Brown’s statement. ‘I was cut. I didn’t walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out.’
‘Being fired on the sideline for having a painful injury was bad enough. Then came their ‘spin.’ Coach denied on national television that he knew about my ankle. That’s 100% inaccurate,’ the receiver added. ‘Not only did he know I missed several games with the injury, he and I exchanged texts days before the game where he clearly acknowledged my injury.’
Antonio Brown seen leaving the sideline on Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Brown injured his ankle during a victory at Philadelphia in mid-October. He returned to the lineup against Carolina on December 26, after serving a three-game suspension for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status.
The former Steelers, Raiders and Patriots receiver had 10 catches for 101 yards against the Panthers. He three receptions for 26 yards against the Jets after missing two practices last week due to the ankle injury.
Arians was admittedly ‘very’ angry over Antonio Brown’s refusal to enter Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, but now admits he just feels bad for the mercurial receiver.
‘It’s a shame,’ Arians told NBC’s Peter King. ‘I feel bad for him. He just can’t help himself.’
As Arians recalled to King, he told Brown to re-enter Sunday’s game at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, but was rebuffed.
According to Arians, Brown said: ‘Nope. I’m not going in.’
Brown’s younger brother, former University of Pittsburgh running back Desmond Brown, called his older sibling ‘selfish’ for quitting on his teammates, and suggested that he may have been upset over a contract issue. The elder Brown was approaching three incentive targets, which could have netted him just shy of $1 million in bonuses.
‘… he wanted to get those incentives and realized it wasn’t going to happen,’ Desmond told the Daily Caller.
The Bucs have one more regular season game remaining, and Brown needed 11 more catches as well as an additional 281 receiving yards and three touchdowns to reach all three targets for $999,000 in bonuses.
Desmond also wondered if ‘something happened in the locker room’ at halftime to upset Brown.
Regardless, Desmond said his brother’s exit was ‘a real selfish move,’ adding that ‘there’s no honor in quitting.’
Brown’s younger brother, former University of Pittsburgh running back Desmond Brown, called his older sibling ‘selfish’ for quitting on his teammates, and suggested that he may have been upset over a contract issue. The elder Brown was approaching three incentive targets, which could have netted him just shy of $1 million in bonuses
Both Arians and Brady have voiced concerns for Brown’s mental health.
‘It was very hard,’ Arians told reporters on Monday. ‘I wish him well. If he needs help, I hope he gets some. It’s very hard. Because I do care about him.’
‘It’s a difficult situation,’ Brady said after the 28-24 come-from-behind win on Sunday. ‘Everybody should do what they can to help him in ways that he really needs it. We all love him. We care about him deeply. We want to see him be at his best. Unfortunately, it won’t be with our team.
‘I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things that are happening.’
Brown’s messy exit on Sunday not only marks the end of his run with the Bucs, but it could be the last time the troubled 33-year-old receiver steps on an NFL field.
Since 2018, Brown has technically been on four teams, although he never suited up for the Oakland Raiders in 2019 and played only one game with the New England Patriots, who released him following allegations of sexual assault my his former personal trainer.
Brown has since settled that lawsuit for an undisclosed amount, and seemed to find success in Tampa Bay, where he won a Super Bowl last season after being recruited to the Bucs by Brady, his former Patriots teammate.
Brown (left) was on the Bucs’ injury report with an ankle problem leading up to Sunday’s game, where he had three catches for 26 yards before his sideline dispute with Arians
Brown has faced extensive legal issues over the last three years, including a sexual assault lawsuit made by his former personal trainer, Britney Taylor, which has since been settled for an undisclosed amount.
Taylor sued Brown in federal court back in 2019, but later refiled in Florida, claiming he sexually assaulted on three occasions between 2017 and 2018. Brown, who countersued Taylor for defamation in 2019, has denied the accusation and according to an ESPN report, refused to sign a $2 million settlement agreement.
No criminal charges were ever filed against Brown.
In her lawsuit, Taylor, a gymnast who first met Brown while they were both studying at Central Michigan University, claimed Brown exposed himself and kissed her without consent in 2017.
She described a second alleged incident ‘later that same month’, in which Brown is said to have stood behind her and masturbated while she was watching television. Unaware of what he was doing, Taylor said she was surprised when Brown then ‘ejaculated on her back,’ according to the lawsuit obtained by DailyMail.com.
Taylor (left) and Brown (right) reconnected in 2017, when he hired her as his personal trainer
The lawsuit also claimed that Brown bragged to Taylor about carrying out the purported assault in ‘profane and angry text messages.’
As a result, Taylor ended her working relationship with Brown.
However, several months later, when he contacted her and ‘begged for forgiveness,’ she relented, saying she was, ‘swayed by his assurance that he would cease any sexual advances.’
But on May 20, 2018, Taylor says Brown assaulted her once more, this time pinning her only a bed, pushing her face into a mattress and ‘forcibly’ raping her.
Taylor said she tried to escape Brown’s hold, repeatedly screaming ‘no and stop’ at him, but the desperate cries allegedly fell on deaf ears as Brown was ‘too strong and physically overpowered her.’
‘As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,’ Taylor said in a statement released by her lawyer. ‘I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.’
Taylor claimed in her lawsuit that she was so traumatized as a result of the three alleged attacks that she suffered ‘near-daily panic attacks, frequent suicidal ideations, and insomnia.’
Brown was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the time of the alleged assault.
Britney Taylor, who knew Brown from their time at Central Michigan University, sued him in 2019, claiming that he sexually assaulted her on three occasions between 2017 and 2018
When Taylor filed her lawsuit in federal court in 2019, the controversial receiver had just signed with New England following a brief, but turbulent, tenure with the Oakland Raiders, who waived him amid his disputes with the front office.
Brown was later released by the Patriots after only one game when a second woman came forward, accusing him of sexually harassing her when she painted a mural in his Pennsylvania home in 2017. Later, after coming forward, she claimed to have received threats from Brown and his friends via text message in an apparent attempt to silence her.
In her lawsuit, Taylor (left), a gymnast who first met Brown while they were both studying at Central Michigan University, claimed Brown (right) exposed himself and kissed her without consent in 2017
In 2020, Brown pleaded no contest to an assault charge stemming from an incident with a moving truck driver. He was placed on two years probation and also ordered to have a psychological evaluation and enroll in a 13-week anger management course.
Aside from the sexual assault accusations, Brown was also accused of sexual misconduct by a different woman, according to a Sports Illustrated profile in September 2019.
‘In a half-dozen lawsuits, he is accused of refusal to pay wages to former assistants and part-time employees. Court documents and interviews also suggest a pattern of disturbing, sometimes bizarre behavior—including, SI has learned, a second woman’s allegations of sexual misconduct by Brown,’ the magazine said.
The woman, an artist, alleged that Brown came up to her and started talking to her while covering his penis with a hand towel while she painted a mural in his home.
In January 2020, Brown was accused of attacking a truck driver in Hollywood, Florida. The driver said Brown got violent because he didn’t want to pay him.
The football player was eventually charged with multiple offenses including burglary with assault. He ultimately pled guilty and was sentenced to parole.