Bruce Arians shares what led to Antonio Brown being kicked off sideline
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally cut Antonio Brown on Thursday. Shortly after the roster move was made, head coach Bruce Arians shared his side of what led to Brown stripping off his uniform and leaving the field during last Sunday’s game.
Brown said in a lengthy statement through his attorney on Wednesday that he was bothered by his ankle injury and Bucs coaches tried to force him to play hurt. Arians told reporters that is not what happened. The coach says the trouble started at halftime, when Brown was frustrated that he wasn’t getting enough targets. His teammates managed to calm him down, but Brown was still angry when the second half began and refused to play.
“He was very upset at halftime about who was getting targeted. We got that calmed down. The players took care of that,” Arians said. “It started again on the sideline. We called for the personnel group that he had played in the entire game. He refused to go in the game. That’s when I looked back and saw him basically wave off the coach. I then went back and approached him about what was going on. (He said), ‘I ain’t playing. I ain’t getting the ball.’ That’s when I said, ‘You’re done. Get the F out of here.’ That’s the end of it.”
Arians also said Brown never informed a trainer or doctor during the game that his ankle was bothering him, which is the “normal protocol.” You can hear the coach’s full comments below:
Bruce Arians speaks to the media following the release of Antonio Brown. pic.twitter.com/HMYir6rhX9
— xz – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 6, 2022
Arians’ account of what took place sounds plausible. The statement from Brown’s attorney claimed the receiver was in serious pain. Yet, the ankle injury did not stop Brown from hopping around the end zone after he stripped off his uniform and left MetLife Stadium (video here). It’s certainly possible Brown informed one or more Bucs coaches that he was too hurt to play, but they likely didn’t believe him given what transpired at halftime.
Brown also felt well enough to attend an NBA game this week. He didn’t have any type of walking boot, cast or crutches. The former Pro Bowler was suspended this season after he was caught using a fake COVID vaccine card. He has had countless other off-field issues. Brown certainly has not earned any benefit of the doubt.
Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports