The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have formally released Antonio Brown … and in announcing the news, the team called its former star a liar. The Bucs said in a statement after officially cutting the wideout that he never indicated to their medical personnel that his ankle was too hurt to play in Sunday’s game against the Jets. Brown, of course, said the opposite in a lengthy statement Wednesday night … claiming he did tell the team he was too injured — and that head coach Bruce Arians still wanted him in the game nonetheless.
“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,” the Bucs said Thursday. “And at no point during the game did he indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play.” The Bucs went on to say that they’ve asked Antonio several times this week to be evaluated by “an outside orthopedic specialist” … but say Antonio “has not complied.” “Maintaining the health and wellness of our players is of the utmost importance to our organization,” the Bucs said.
As we previously reported, Brown melted down on the sidelines of the Bucs’ game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium, stripping off his pads and shirt before running into the locker room. After the blowup, Arians suggested that Brown had quit on the team … telling Jay Glazer that he tried to get the wideout to go into the game multiple times, but AB refused and then left. Brown, though, said Wednesday that’s not the way things went down … writing in a statement, “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.” “He didn’t call for medical attention,” Brown added. “Instead, he shouted at me, ‘YOU’RE DONE!’ while he ran his finger across his throat. Coach was telling me that if I didn’t play hurt, then I was done with the Bucs.” Arians previously said this week that Brown did not indicate to him at the time that he was hurt.
“I didn’t quit,” Brown insisted in his statement. “I was cut. I didn’t walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out.” Brown says on Monday he saw a specialist, who told him that his ankle injury was so bad, it’ll require season-ending surgery. “What they did know until now is that on Monday morning I had an urgent MRI on my ankle,” Brown said. “It shows broken fragments stuck in my ankle, the ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss, which are beyond painful. You can see the bone bulging from the outside.” Brown is now a free agent … and he said Wednesday night he has no plans to retire. “Once my surgery is complete, I’ll be back to 100% and looking forward to next season. Business gonna be BOOMIN!”