Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians told reporters that Antonio Brown is no longer with the team, after a bizarre incident that saw the veteran wide receiver leave Sunday’s win over the New York Jets mid-game and shirtless. Arians said after the game: “He is no longer a Buc. That’s the end of the story. Let’s talk about the guys who went out there and won the game.” According to multiple reports, Brown also wasn’t welcome to fly back to Tampa with the team. Brown was in the midst of his second game back from a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols after he was accused of obtaining a fake vaccine card.
The incident happened late in the third quarter with the Jets leading, 24-10. During a break in second-half play, Brown abruptly took off his gear, threw his shirt and gloves into the stands and jogged off the field. Teammates Mike Evans and O.J. Howard tried to sooth an upset Brown as he took off his jersey and shoulder pads. TV cameras then caught Brown removing his shirt and gloves and throwing them into the stands. While both teams remained on the field during a break in play, Brown ran to the end zone, where he performed jumping jacks and gave the crowd a peace sign before exiting to the tunnel. It wasn’t clear immediately after the game what prompted the scene.
Tom Brady, who fought hard to get the Bucs to sign Brown in the first place last season, asked everyone to be “compassionate and empathetic” toward him after the game. The Bucs signed Brown in 2020 on the heels of an eight-game NFL ban following multiple allegations of rape and sexual misconduct and a no-contest plea on a felony burglary conveyance charge. Arians said when Brown signed: “He screws up one time, he’s gone.”
Editorial credit: Steve Jacobson / Shutterstock.com