After a report from FOX’s Jay Glazer on Sunday noted that a disagreement between Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and the wide receiver caused his abrupt departure, another report on Monday morning revealed the genesis of that argument.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported on ‘Good Morning Football’ that the disagreement stemmed from Arians wanting to put Brown in the game when the wide receiver felt he was not healthy enough to play; he was a limited participant in practice in the week leading up to the game because of an ankle injury.
“Midway through the game yesterday, Bruce Arians and the offensive staff told Antonio Brown to go into the game. They believed he was healthy. Antonio Brown did not believe he was healthy,” Rapoport told host Kay Adams. “He had been battling an ankle injury for the last several weeks, did not practice Thursday, did not practice Friday and I know personally had some doubts whether or not he would be able to be out there and play. What he told the staff, from what I understand, is that he was not going into the game because, in his mind, he did not feel he was healthy. The response then from the offensive coaches and Bruce Arians was ‘if you are not going to go into the game when we tell you to go into the game, then you cannot be here.’ At that point, they threw him off the sidelines and then cut him from the team.”
Arians announced following the game that Brown was “no longer a Buc,” meaning the team planned to cut him on Monday. That news was essentially relayed to Brown on the sideline at MetLife Stadium.
“They essentially told him that on the sideline, send him packing, leaving Antonio Brown with a $1 million incentive right within his reach. He was going to get it. He left all of that, left the field and is no longer a member of the Buccaneers,” Rapoport said.
Brown’s exit from the field was abrupt and flamboyant. He took off his jersey, then his shirt and gloves and tossed them into the crowd. He then ran off the field, stopping in the endzone to wave towards the visiting Buccaneers fans.
Arians told Glazer he saw Brown take off his jersey.
“Never seen anything like it in all my years,” Arians said.
FOX, which is broadcasting the contest, caught the action from the sidelines. Here is a video of Brown tossing his things into the crowd, and here is a video of the bizarre sideshow in the endzone afterward.
A video filmed by a fan in the stands shows fellow wide receiver Mike Evans attempting to calm Brown down to no avail.
Brown finished with three receptions for 26 yards.