Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said Antonio Brown is “no longer a Buc” after the wide receiver’s bizarre exit from the team’s game Sunday. Trailing the New York Jets by two touchdowns in the third quarter, Brown removed his shoulder pads, jersey and undershirt on the sidelines and jogged into the locker room.
Brown appeared to gesture for the crowd to cheer on his way into the tunnel, despite being in the middle of a road game at the Jets’ home stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
At his postgame press conference, Arians said Brown was “no longer a Buc,” but didn’t have any further comment. About an hour after the game ended, Arians told Jay Glazer of “Fox NFL Sunday” that he tried to get Brown to go back into the game on two separate occasions but Brown refused. Arians then told him to leave. Referring to the way Brown exited, the 69-year-old coach told Glazer that he had “never seen anything like it in all my years.”
Quarterback Tom Brady in his postgame press conference called it a “difficult situation,” and said that he hopes people “do what they can to help him in way that he really needs.”
“We all love him,” Brady added. “We care about him deeply. We want to see him be at his best. Unfortunately, it won’t be with our team, but we have a lot of frienships that will last. … I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things that are happening.”
Brown, formerly one of the premiere receivers in the NFL, has had issues both on and off the field in recent years. The 33-year-old spent nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but eventually his relationship with the team and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger deteriorated to the point that Brown requested a trade.
Brown was traded to the then-Oakland Raiders in 2019, but a bizarre preseason injury, a fight with the league over the type of helmet he wanted to wear and a meeting with general manager Mike Mayock that reportedly became extremely contentious all culminated in Brown being released by the team before playing a single game with them.
The same day he was released by the Raiders, Brown signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots, then quarterbacked by Brady. Brown was then accused of sexual assault and sued over the incidents, which allegedly took place in 2017 and 2018. Brown was released after playing one game with the Patriots.
During the 2020 offseason, Brown was suspended by the NFL for eight weeks for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. On April 8, 2020, Brown signed with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers, now quarterbacked by Brady. He made his debut in week 9 of the 2020 season following his suspension. The Bucs would go on to win Super Bowl LV that season.
Earlier this year, Brown wasthree games after he and two other teammates “misrepresented their vaccination status.”