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, who was spotted attending a Brooklyn Nets game Monday, accused the Bucs and coach Bruce Arians of giving him a ‘powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller’ ahead of the Sunday’s win over the Jets.
In a statement issued via his lawyer on Wednesday, Brown said that he was forced to play despite team officials knowing he had a serious ankle injury.
Brown says that at one point the pain from the injury became too extreme, forcing him to sit on the sidelines. He claims that then triggered a confrontation with Arians, which saw the coach make a throat cutting gesture while mouthing ‘You’re done.’
The exit from the field happened shortly afterwards, Brown claims.
Brown, 33, was said to be released by the Buccaneers after refusing to enter Sunday’s game against the New York Jets before removing his jersey and pads, which he threw into the stands, and jogging off the field. However, the team has not officially made that roster move yet as it awaits further guidance from the league office.
Brown did indeed miss games due to an ankle injury this season prior to his three-game suspension for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status before the season. His former personal chef has accused him of attempting to obtain a fake vaccine card, which is a violation of league rules.
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
Through his attorney, Brown released a statement explaining his exit from Sunday’s game
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
‘Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured,’ Brown said in a statement released by his attorney.
‘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,’ he added.
Brown said that he played ‘until it was clear that I could not use my ankle to safely perform my playing responsibilities,’ calling the pain ‘extreme’.
The seven-time Pro Bowler describes Arians as shouting at him: ‘What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you?’
When Brown said he couldn’t go back in because of his ankle, Arians then allegedly shouted ‘You’re done!’
Brown clarifies: ‘I didn’t quit. I was cut. I didn’t walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out.’
While in New York, Brown said he saw several top doctors and was diagnosed with a significant ankle injury, which he says he plans to rehab before returning to the NFL.
‘Once my surgery is complete, I’ll be back to 100% and looking forward to next season. Business gonna be BOOMIN!’
Brown, who won a Super Bowl in his first season with Tampa Bay last season, headed to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to watch the Nets take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.
‘It’s a new day to hit up KD,’ Brown captioned an Instagram story video touting his game day attire while referencing Nets star Kevin Durant.
Brown doesn’t seem to be too phased by the likely end to his NFL career as he was caught on camera laughing, cheering and chatting with a friend while he watched Monday’s game.
He even took a selfie with the fans seated behind him.
Then, after the game, he went to a club with rapper Fabolous, documenting the endeavor on his Instagram Stories. The pair are seen smiling, laughing and joking around.
The camera operator commented on how the two were the ‘hottest in the streets right now,’ to which Fabolous replied, while motioning to Brown: ‘Don’t disrespect that work ethic.’
Fallen NFL star Antonio Brown (pictured Monday) hit the New York City streets Monday night after cheering on Kevin Durant at a Brooklyn Nets game
Brown is seen talking to a friend while he watches the Brooklyn Nets game Monday night
Arians was admittedly ‘very’ angry over Antonio Brown’s refusal to enter Sunday’s game against, but now admits he just feels bad for the mercurial receiver, who was said to be released by the team after his bizarre third-quarter departure.
However, the Bucs are awaiting guidance from the league office on how to proceed and have not officially cut Brown yet.
‘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.
‘It’s a new day to hit up KD,’ the axed Tampa Bay wide receiver captioned an Instagram story video touting his game day attire
Brown takes a selfie with the fans behind him after the conclusion of the Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies game
Brown is pictured at the game sporting a face mask and his custom pendant of a bee with butterfly wings wearing an 84 jersey. The pendant was designed to honor Muhammad Ali
According to Arians, Brown said: ‘Nope. I’m not going in.’
After debating the issue with fellow Bucs receiver Mike Evans, the seven-time Pro Bowl selection removed his gloves, jersey, and undershirt before tossing them into the crowd and jogging away.
Arians also dispelled the notion that Brown stormed off the field because of an ankle injury that had sidelined him for several weeks.
Twice, Arians was asked about Brown claiming he was hurt. Both times, the coach answered ‘No,’ that Brown didn’t tell him he was injured.
‘It’s pretty obvious what happened. He left the field and that was it,’ Arians said, declining to elaborate on an exchange the coach said he had with the receiver on the sideline.
Brown is photographed as he is leaving the Nets game
After the game, he went to a club with rapper Fabolous. The pair are seen smiling, laughing and joking around
Brown is seen at a club after Monday night’s Nets game
Pressed for details on what was said and whether Brown claimed he was too injured to play, Arians replied: ‘We had a conversation and he left the field.’
Asked what specifically was said that might move Brown to react the way he did, the coach said: ‘You have to ask him, brother. I don’t have a clue.’
‘I just hope the best for him,’ he added.
Arians also said he has no regrets about giving the often-troubled receiver an opportunity to play with Tom Brady and revive a career derailed by on- and off-the-field issues – even though it ended in such a bizarre fashion.
However, 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.
Now-former Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) gestures to the crowd as he leaves the field while his team’s offense was driving against the Jets on Sunday in New Jersey
After removing his pads, jersey, and undershirt, a shirtless Brown made his way for the exit
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.’
Both Arians and quarterback 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.’
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians (left) was ‘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, who was released by the team after tossing his jersey into the stands and jogging off the field in a bizarre third-quarter departure. Brown’s younger brother, former University of Pittsburgh running back Desmond Brown (right), 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
‘I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things that are happening.’
After Brady engineered a late Buccaneers comeback, Arians announced during his post-game press conference that Brown was ‘no longer’ with the team. The receiver was later seen on social media being chauffeured into New York City rather than leaving the tri-state area on the team plane.
Following the incident, Brown, who has dabbled in music, dropped a new rap song that he previously recorded and shared a few cryptic posts on Instagram.
Tom Brady pleaded for compassion from fans for Brown, his now-former teammate
‘Super Gremlin,’ Brown wrote in one post, apparently referencing a song by Kodak Black about betrayal.
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.
Brady welcomed Brown and allowed the four-time All Pro to stay with him in a home the quarterback was renting from baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.
‘I took a lot of time off from the game to re-evaluate myself, to look within, to get a better perspective of myself and work on myself within and without,’ Brown said in November 2020.
‘I won’t say I’m a different person, but I’m a better person. Learning a lot about myself, working on myself for a year and a half, I think I’m a better person.’
Brown released a rap single, called ‘Pit Not the Palace,’ several hours after his bizarre exit
In another cryptic post, Brown shared a photo of himself after his meltdown on Sunday
However, things went awry for Brown this season after he was accused by his former personal chef of trying to skirt NFL health and safety protocol by obtaining a fake COVID-19 vaccine card.
Brown was ultimately suspended three games by the NFL for ‘misrepresenting’ his vaccine status before the season.
He returned for the Bucs in late December, and seemed ready to once again focus on football ahead of Tampa Bay’s December 26 game against the Carolina Panthers.
‘You guys, it’s all drama,’ Brown told reporters about his suspension when he returned to the team. ‘It’s all about football. We here to talk about Carolina or I don’t want to talk to you guys.’
Brown has faced extensive legal issues over the last three years, including a sexual assault lawsuit made by his former personal trainer, Britney Taylor.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Taylor (left) and Brown (right) reconnected in 2017, when he hired her as his personal trainer
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 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 he faced from former personal trainer Britney Taylor, who sued him over alleged three incidents in 2017 and 2018, 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.
A civil lawsuit filed by the driver is still pending.
Brown began his career at the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2010 to 2018. He had a brief stint with the Oakland Raiders, but he was let go after a confrontation with the team manager.
He was cut from the Patriots after playing in just one game. He joined the Bucs in 2020, following the recruiting efforts by Brady, and ultimately won his first Super Bowl in February.