Antonio Brown's concern over ankle injury led to sudden departure: report

Brown was listed on the injury report with an ankle issue

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The details behind Antonio Brown’s outburst and departure from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of their comeback victory over the New York Jets began to trickle out.

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians told FOX NFL insider Jay Glazer on Sunday night he was trying to get the wide receiver back into the game as he only had three catches for 26 yards. Arians said Brown refused and the coach told him to leave.

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Antonio Brown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers carries the ball against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Antonio Brown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers carries the ball against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Asked if he saw Brown take his jersey off, Arians told Glazer, "Yeah, I did. Never seen anything like it in all my years."

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport had more details about the Brown debacle on "Good Morning Football" on Monday. He pointed to Brown not feeling like he was healthy enough to be playing.

"Midway through the game yesterday, Bruce Arians and the offensive staff told Antonio Brown to go into the game. They believed he was healthy," Rapoport said. "Antonio Brown did not believe he was healthy. He had been battling an ankle injury for the last several weeks. He did not practice Thursday, did not practice Friday, and I know personally had some doubts whether or not he would be able to be out there and play.

"What he told the staff, from what I understand, is he was not going into the game because in his mind he did not feel he was healthy. The response then from the offensive coaches and from Bruce Arians was if you are not going to 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.

Antonio Brown on the field before the game against the New York Jets on Jan. 2, 2022.

Antonio Brown on the field before the game against the New York Jets on Jan. 2, 2022. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

"So Antonio Brown, which Bruce Arians announced at the postgame press conference, is no longer part of the team. They essentially told him that on the sideline. Sent him packing, leaving Antonio Brown with a $1 million incentive right within his reach. He was going to get it. He left all of that, left the field and is no longer a member of the Buccaneers."

ANTONIO BROWN SARCASTICALLY 'REVEALS' WHY HE LEFT BUCS MIDGAME

Brown was listed on the Week 17 injury report as questionable with an ankle issue. He was limited in practice on Wednesday but did not practice Thursday or Friday. He appeared to be fine in Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers when he had 10 catches for 101 yards.

Week 16 was the first game he played since Week 6. Brown had been battling injuries all season and was also suspended three games after it was discovered he used a fake vaccine card to skirt the league’s health and safety protocols.

Arians told reporters after Sunday’s game Brown was "no longer a Buc."

Tom Brady called for empathy and compassion.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with Mike Evans after Evans scored a touchdown against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with Mike Evans after Evans scored a touchdown against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (AP Photo/John Munson)

"That’s obviously a difficult situation. I think we all want him to … I think everybody should find, hopefully, do what they can to help him in ways he really needs it. We all love him, we all care about him deeply. We want to see him be at his best, and unfortunately it won’t be with our team," Brady said.

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"We have a lot of friendships that will last. Again, I think that the most important thing about football are the relationships with your friends and your teammates, and they go beyond the field. I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things."