The team announced Thursday that Brown’s contract has been terminated effective immediately.
In a statement, the Bucs claimed the wide receiver never indicated he was too hurt to play in last Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. Brown, on the other hand, claimed in a lengthy statement released yesterday that he did inform the club that he could not play, however, Coach Bruce Arians still wanted him in the game.
“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.”
“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,” the Bucs said Thursday.
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In a statement via his lawyer, Brown is said the team gave him a “powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller” and forced him to play despite knowing he had a serious ankle injury — all leading to the moment he says head coach Bruce Arians told him “you’re done!”
That’s when 33-year-old AB says he removed his jersey and pads … and walked off the Met Life football field.
“Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured. 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,” Brown said in a statement released by his attorney.
The 7x Pro Bowler continued, saying he balled until the pain got to a point where he could no longer endure it.
“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.”