Jan 2, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) on the field before the game against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown: Removing jersey ‘probably wasn’t necessary’

Newly exiled Antonio Brown said his bizarre exit from a game last week in which he removed his pads and jersey during live action “probably wasn’t necessary.”

Brown made the comments Monday to TMZ while he signed autographs on his way into a Los Angeles restaurant to dine with Kanye West.

“It probably wasn’t necessary or professional,” Brown said in response to questions.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Brown late last week following his decision to make an abrupt exit during the third quarter of Tampa’s Week 17 win against the New York Jets.

Brown would later say the Buccaneers forced him to play hurt and covered up facts related to his injury, an accusation that coach Bruce Arians forcefully debunked Thursday, the day the team officially released Brown.

The Bucs (13-4) host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in an NFC wild card game.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) smiles with wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) after he scored a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown shows receipts, personal bank info in growing rift with Bucs

Antonio Brown shared receipts and even his bank account information in an early morning offensive Thursday that included text strings with Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and Tom Brady’s personal fitness and nutrition guru.

Only hours after releasing a cannonball statement accusing the Buccaneers of forcing him to play hurt and covering up facts related to his injury, Brown was at the keyboard with screen grabs of private conversations with Arians and Brady sidekick and business partner Alex Guerrero.

Brown released a text message string he purports happened last Friday with Arians — two days before the wide receiver removed his jersey and shoulder pads and fled the sideline during a game with the New York Jets.

In a separate screenshot, Brown shared an exchange with Guerrero that included detailed banking information, including routing and account numbers, in a pointed criticism of Brady’s TB12 business ally.

The text string with Arians includes this exchange:

“This is BA. Make sure you are ready to go tomorrow. We ARE NOT resting for the playoffs.

“Call me.”

Brown replied with a knees-to-feet photo of his right ankle being worked on and said, “I’m all in coach really cant get to full speed I wanna win wanna be there if I wake up tomorrow feel better I’ll be ready kinda rolled it outside on 2pt play I want what’s best for team lmk when you free I’ll call u.”

Arians, according to the screenshot Brown shared, replied, “Come see me in the morning. We’ll talk it out. Definitely want you with us in case you’re ready.”

Brown, based on his screenshot, loved the Arians reply.

Brown shared an image showing what he identified as a text string with Guerrero regarding the “half” of a $100,000 payment he wanted back. The messages were dated Dec. 24. In the Twitter post accompanying the text message history, he wrote “@TomBrady guy @ag_tb12 charging me 100k never doing the work on me! how u even work wit people like this! This what I was dealing wit.

“Then imagine your QB trainer charging you 100K then doing no work must be was a part of these guys plans all along.”

That message was deleted from Brown’s Twitter feed along with this text exchange from Christmas Eve:

“Hey ag if we not going to work any more that’s fine Lmk about the 100K I paid you only fair get back half my money lmk how to proceed.”

A response labeled with the name Alex Guerrero came around two hours later.

“Good morning AB. I appreciate you reaching out to me. I completely understand you want to go in a different direction. Thank you for the opportunity to work together. I hope for your continued success on and off the field. Please let me know where you want to send the balance. Big hugs my friend.”

Brown replied with detailed banking account information with full routing and account numbers shared via Twitter. He later deleted the post, but it had thousands of views before banking hours Thursday.

In his Wednesday statement released through his attorney, Brown said he was coaxed into playing hurt and took a painkiller the NFLPA discourages using. He said the ankle has painful bone fragments and a ligament torn from the bone, which will require surgery. He did not provide medical support or imaging to back that part of the story.

Brown, 33, was in his second season with the Buccaneers and won the Super Bowl with Tampa Bay last season.

Brown returned to Twitter later Thursday morning to clarify he felt supported by teammates, including Brady.

“Don’t get it twisted. My brothers have been good to me. From Tom to practice squad, we were a top-level unit. They have been good to me and knew nothing about my talks with coach last week. The team mishandled this situation. They let me down and, more importantly, my teammates.”

Prior to Sunday’s game in New York, Brown had played just once in two months — the week prior at Carolina — and was targeted 15 times by Brady as the Buccaneers deal with injuries and depth concerns at the position.

His future with the team was in serious doubt in December based on “inaccurate representation of his vaccination status” and reports he purchased a fake vaccination card.

But Arians decided to welcome Brown back while he continued rehab for an ankle injury that was listed on the injury report.

Arians said on Wednesday he agreed with a reporter who asked if it was a matter of “how and not when” the Buccaneers parted with Brown. After he left mid-game in Week 17 at MetLife Stadium, Arians said postgame that Brown was “no longer a Buc.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA;  Former NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown cheers during the game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown blames Bucs, claims ankle, Bruce Arians caused in-game exit

Antonio Brown emerged late Wednesday claiming his badly injured ankle, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers “cover-up” of his status, caused his in-game exit from the sideline at MetLife Stadium.

Brown, spotted earlier this week courtside at the Brooklyn Nets game, issued a statement through his attorney on the same day the Buccaneers included him on the team’s injury report for Week 18.

Though the Buccaneers made it clear after beating the New York Jets on the day Brown bowed out that he was “no longer a Buc,” no official transaction was made in what could be shaping up as a litigious face-off. Of note in Brown’s professional career and pertinent in any legal dispute over his remaining salary are unceremonious exits from the Pittsburgh Steelers, then-Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots prior to his fresh start with the Buccaneers.

Brown, 33, claimed the Buccaneers were aware of the severity of his ankle injury and that an MRI “shows broken bone fragments stuck in my ankle, the ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss, which are beyond painful.”

Only three weeks ago it appeared Brown might be done with the Buccaneers over his “representation of vaccination status” to the team and NFL. But head coach Bruce Arians allowed another chance as Brown rehabbed his hurting ankle.

With the Buccaneers down several wide receivers — including starters Chris Godwin (ACL) and Mike Evans (COVID-19) — Brown played for the first time in 10 weeks on Dec. 26 at Carolina, one game before the incident vs. the Jets.

Brown said in his Wednesday statement that “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 the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it my all for the team. 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.”

Brown said general manager Jason Licht acknowledged in a text message that Brown disclosed his ankle pain to Arians.

Arians was asked Wednesday if it was a matter of “how and not if” Brown was gone, he replied: “Right.”

“It’s a management decision, what’s happening right now,” Arians said.

Brown claimed in the lengthy statement that Arians also directly exchanged texts with Brown prior to the game and discussed the injury.

“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. It was well-documented and we had discussed it. He then ordered me to get on the field. I said, ‘Coach, I can’t.’ He didn’t call for medical attention. 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.

“I didn’t quit. I was cut. I didn’t walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out.

“…Being fired on the sideline for having a painful injury was bad enough. Then came their spin. Coach denied on national television that he knew about my ankle. That’s 100 percent inaccurate.”

Brown was a member of the Super Bowl-winning roster in 2020 and was one of a number of free agents to re-sign with the team in the offseason.

This season, he had 42 receptions for 545 yards and four touchdowns in seven games.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) on the field before the game against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arians: Antonio Brown’s departure not an ‘if’ but a ‘how’

In the wake of wide receiver Antonio Brown’s public outburst during his team’s game last Sunday against the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said that the mercurial player was “no longer a Buc.”

Three days later, Brown is still on the official roster, so Arians addressed the discrepancy Wednesday.

“It’s a management decision, what’s happening right now,” Arians said. When asked if Brown’s departure was imminent and if it was more a question of “how” rather than “if,” Arians responded, “Right.”

Brown, 33, who threw his equipment into the stands in the middle of the Jets game and left the field shirtless, did not practice with the team Wednesday. He was listed on the injury report as “not injury related — personal.”

The seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time All Pro has 42 receptions for 545 yards and four touchdowns this season in seven games. He’s second among active players with 928 career receptions.

The Buccaneers (12-4) end their regular season when they host the Carolina Panthers (5-11) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) is tackled by New York Jets cornerback Bryce Hall (37) after a catch during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Antonio Brown says injury kept him from re-entering game

Wide receiver Antonio Brown refused to re-enter the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ game against the New York Jets because he felt he was not healthy enough to play, the NFL Network reported.

Per the network, a disagreement with coaches led to Brown’s abrupt second-half departure from Tampa Bay’s dramatic 28-24 victory Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

Bucs coach Bruce Arians told Fox Sports that Brown refused his request to re-enter the game in the second half. Brown, instead, removed his jersey and shoulder pads and eventually ran shirtless off the field.

MetLife Stadium security told ESPN that initially they thought Brown was a fan who had jumped on the field.

Arians said after the win that Brown is “no longer a Buc.” Brown, 33, did not fly home with the team.

Brown did not practice Thursday or Friday due to his ankle injury. The Athletic reported Brown had tweaked his ankle in practice earlier last week and was a game-time decision on Sunday.

Brown had just returned on Dec. 26, after having been out since mid-October with the ankle injury and a three-game suspension for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status.

Brown had 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons with the Bucs. He had three catches for 26 yards before departing Sunday’s game.

The seven-time Pro Bowl selection took to Instagram after the game to thank the Buccaneers for the opportunity and also released a rap song.

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) falls on his head after he catches the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bucs’ Chris Godwin (MCL sprain) out at least three weeks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin is expected to miss the final three games of the regular season with an MCL sprain, NFL Network reported on Monday.

Godwin was injured after taking a hard hit to his right knee early in the second quarter of the Buccaneers’ 9-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Fellow Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans (hamstring), running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) and Lavonte David (foot) were also injured during Sunday’s game. NFL Network reported the injuries to Evans and Fournette are not expected to be “major” in severity, with the latter perhaps missing a game or two.

The passing game could receive a boost with the expected addition of Antonio Brown, who completed a three-game suspension after an NFL investigation determined he produced a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

While a three-week timetable would make Godwin a candidate for injured reserve, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Buccaneers have yet to make that decision.

Godwin, 25, has posted team-leading totals in catches (98) and receiving yards (1,103) to go along with five receiving touchdowns. He also has rushed for a score in 14 games this season.

Evans, 28, leads the Buccaneers with 11 receiving touchdowns. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has 64 catches for 899 yards in 14 games this season.

Without Godwin and Evans, Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady turned to wide receivers Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and Jaelon Darden on Sunday — with less-than-stellar results.

“It was big,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Sunday of the injuries. “The young guys, I was hoping they’d step up a little bit more — the receivers. Overall, we just dropped too many balls.”

Fournette, 26, leads the team in carries (180), rushing yards (812) and rushing touchdowns (eight). He also has provided an impact in the passing game with 69 receptions for 454 yards and two touchdowns.

Ronald Jones II likely will assume the bulk of the workload in the backfield should Fournette be sidelined.

“Those guys play a huge role on our team, so we have to uplift them and do a better job,” Jones said on Sunday. “Just guys going down and fighting adversity. We didn’t fight through today.”

David, 31, has 97 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in 12 games this season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) celebrates as he catches the ball during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arians undecided on Antonio Brown’s future with Bucs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians remains undecided about Antonio Brown’s future with the team after his three-game suspension ends next week.

Brown, Bucs safety Mike Edwards and former teammate wide receiver John Franklin III were suspended after an NFL investigation determined they had produced face COVID-19 vaccination cards.

Arians said earlier this month that he would address the futures of Brown and Edwards once they returned. Asked Monday if Brown would return next week, he said, “I haven’t made that determination yet, but we’ll see how it goes.”

The Buccaneers promoted wideout Breshad Perriman from the practice squad to take Brown’s roster spot, and Perriman produced a 58-yard touchdown reception in overtime to help beat Buffalo on Sunday.

Perriman, 28, was a first-round pick by Baltimore in the 2015 NFL Draft. He has four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in four games this season, giving him 129 catches for 2,148 yards and 15 TDs in 67 career games.

“The more you make plays, the more you get to play,” Arians said of Perriman on Monday. “I think Tyler (Johnson) got a bunch of his snaps back this week too.

“He’s been playing good also. We’ll just see how the game plays out with those guys, but I’m comfortable with either one of them in there.”

Brown, 33, has 29 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns in five games this season. He has been dealing with a lingering ankle/heel injury and was expected to miss the past two games even before the suspension.

Brown has been working out away from the team, and Arians was asked when a decision will be made regarding his future.

“We’ll talk as an organization,” he said. “It’s coming up soon. When we know, we’ll let everybody know.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman (19) participates in warmups prior to the game against the Washington Football Team at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs to elevate WR Breshad Perriman to active roster

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will promote Breshad Perriman from the practice squad to take the roster spot of fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown, the former’s agent Drew Rosenhaus said Friday.

Brown will serve a three-game suspension for providing false vaccination information to both the Buccaneers and the NFL.

Perriman, 28, had two receptions for 19 yards in Tampa Bay’s 30-10 victory over the New York Giants on Nov. 22.

A first-round pick of Baltimore in the 2015 NFL Draft, Perriman has 127 catches for 2,085 yards with 14 touchdowns in 65 career games with the Ravens, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and Buccaneers.

Brown, 33, has 29 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns in five games this season. He was likely to miss at least the next two games anyway with a lingering ankle/heel injury.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) during the first quarter against the New York Giants at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL suspends Antonio Brown 3 games for violating protocols

The NFL suspended Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Mike Edwards three games each without pay Thursday for misrepresenting their vaccination status.

A league investigation found that Brown, Edwards and free agent John Franklin III violated NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols.

Per an NFL release, all three players waived their right to appeals. The suspensions are effective immediately. Brown was likely to miss at least the next two games anyway with a lingering ankle/heel injury.

“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority,” the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement. “The protocols were jointly developed working with our respective experts to ensure that we are practicing and playing football as safely as possible during the ongoing pandemic. The NFL-NFLPA jointly reinforce their commitment and further emphasize the importance of strict adherence to the protocols to protect the well-being of everyone associated with the NFL.”

The NFL didn’t say specifically how Brown and the others violated protocols.

But the review came after Brown’s former live-in chef accused Brown last month of obtaining a fake COVID vaccination card to avoid NFL protocols. Steven Ruiz told the Tampa Bay Times that Brown, through his girlfriend, offered Ruiz $500 to obtain a fake vaxx card. Ruiz couldn’t get one but said Brown showed him fake vaxx cards he purchased for himself and his girlfriend.

At the time, the Bucs released a statement saying, in part, “All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed.”

The Bucs released this statement Thursday:

“We appreciate the League’s timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established. We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols.”

Brown, 33, has 29 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns in five games this season.

Brown’s attorney Sean Burstyn, as he did last month, released a statement maintaining that Brown is vaccinated.

“Mr. Brown is vaccinated and continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate,” Burstyn said. “The NFL made its determination and, instead of going through the drawn out an distracting process of challenging the outcome, Mr. Brown wrapped this up promptly and he will make this (sic) most of this time by treating his ankle injury. Mr. Brown will be motivated, well rested and in the best shape of his life when he returns in week 16.”

Edwards, 25, has three interceptions in 11 games (three starts) for the Bucs this season. He returned two INTs for touchdowns in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons. He’s played in 42 games (10 starts) overall for the Bucs.

If Franklin is signed by another team, he will have to miss the first three games.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Antonio Brown out at least 2 more weeks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown is expected to miss at least two more weeks, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Officially, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday that Brown is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. It was originally thought that Brown was dealing with an ankle injury.

“It was more a different injury than originally thought,” Arians said. “A sprain. There’s some issues in the heel — that’s what he’s having problems with.”

Brown, 33, hasn’t played since Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles. In five games (two starts), Brown has 29 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns.

Brown is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro.

–Field Level Media