Fallen NFL star Antonio Brown takes off his jersey mid-game and storms the pitch
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown removed his jersey and left the field before his team’s 28-24 win over the New York Jets ended on Sunday, hastening his exit from the organization.
Head coach Bruce Arians said after the game that Brown, 33, was “no longer a Buc”.
Brown’s exposure included the removal of his jersey, shoulder pads, undershirt and glove; give the crowd a sign of peace; and leaving MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
According to Jay glazer of “NFL on Fox,” which broadcast the game, the Arians repeatedly ordered Brown to participate in the game, but the receiver refused, prompting him to send Brown to the locker room.
“I have never seen anything like this in all my years,” Arians reportedly said.
Brown, hampered by an ankle injury, did not train on Thursday or Friday before being cleared for Sunday’s game.
Arians told reporters on Monday he was not aware of any injuries that would have kept Brown from playing.
“It’s pretty obvious what happened. He left the field and that’s it,” Arians said. “We had a conversation and he left the field.”
Arians said on Monday he had not spoken to Brown or a representative for the player since leaving the sideline around 20 hours earlier in New Jersey.
“I care about him a lot. I hope he is doing well,” said the coach.
In a post-game press conference, the Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady called for compassion and empathy for Brown, suggesting he might need “help.”
“We all love it,” he said. “We care deeply about him. You know, we want to see him at his best, and, you know, unfortunately it won’t be with our team.”
The Arians echoed that sentiment on Monday. “I wish him good luck,” said the coach. “I hope if he needs help he will get it. But it’s very difficult because I care about him.
After leaving the stadium, Brown tweeted a photo of himself in casual winter clothes. It was accompanied by the words “Super Gremlin”, as well as a “shaka” or “hang yourself” emoji, symbol of the hand.
Sunday’s posting was just the latest stormy chapter in Brown’s career.
In 2019, he spent a game with the New England Patriots before being released as he strongly denied the allegations of sexual assault. At the time, he said he would no longer play in the NFL.
Brown, a former All-Pro wide receiver, has been charged in a lawsuit with sexually assaulting a former coach. His lawyers have denied the allegations and counterattacked, and the legal battle resulted in a settlement last year. Brown has never been charged as part of the charges.
In 2020, Brown made a clear plea to burglary and battery charges resulting from an incident in Florida in which he allegedly participated in an attack on a truck driver. His sentence included two years of probation.
The Patriots freed Brown after acrimonious stints with the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tampa Bay signed him for the year, but his season was transformed by a three-game suspension in December over allegations he distorted his vaccination status, the NFL said.
The league was investigating whether Brown had used a fraudulent vaccination card.
David K. Li contributed.