We’ve heard Bruce Arians’ side for why Antonio Brown walked out on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now we’re hearing the other side of the story.
“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,” Rapoport said. “The response then from the offensive coaches and from Bruce Arians was, ‘If you are not gonna 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.”
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Brown Was Listed as ‘Questionable’
Prior to making his return in Week 16 versus the Carolina Panthers, Brown had been sidelined due to nagging foot and ankle injuries since last appearing in a game in Week 6 versus the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, the 33-year-old receiver missed practice sessions on Thursday and Friday leading into Week 17 due to his ankle ailment. He was considered questionable heading into the game.
Brown was caught on camera taking off his shoulder pads on the sidelines before leaving to head towards the tunnel. Following the game, Arians confirmed that Brown will no longer be a member of the team.
“He is no longer a Buc,” Arians told reporters after the game. “That’s the end of the story.”
“He had that look in his eye that I haven’t seen for a long time,” Arians continued.
According to a report by Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, Arians’ side of the story claims that the Bucs head coach asked Brown to enter the game and the veteran receiver declined.
“Just talked to Bruce Arians who said he was trying to get AB to go into game & AB refused,” said Glazer. “Tried again Brown refused & Arians told him to get out. On if he saw AB take his jersey off: ‘Yeah, I did. Never seen anything like it in all my years,’” said Arians.
While both sides are in agreement that the coaching staff had told Brown to re-enter the game — but then he refused — the two stories tell different reasons as to why he didn’t come back into the game.
AB’s Brother Believes He Walked Out Due to Incentives
Brown’s brother has a different theory as to why he didn’t come back into the game.
The veteran receiver was just a few receptions, receiving yards and one touchdown away from clinching a $1 million performance-incentivized bonus this season, according to Spotrac.
Desmond Brown — Brown’s sibling — believes he walked out on the Bucs because he didn’t believe he could reach those marks.
Via The Daily Caller:
“The younger brother of Antonio Brown and former running back for the Pitt Panthers Desmond Brown, 31, told the Daily Caller that he thinks the NFL star left the game in such a manner ‘because he wanted to get those incentives and realized it wasn’t going to happen.'”
Brown was eight catches away, 55 receiving yards away and one touchdown away from clinching $333,333 bonuses for each milestone this season.