Skip to main content
Seminole Heights, FLTemple Terrace, FLCarrollwood-Northdale, FLBrandon, FLBloomingdale-Riverview, FLWestchase, FLSt. Pete, FLSafety Harbor, FLLutz, FLClearwater, FLFloridaTop National NewsSee All CommunitiesTAMPA, FL — Antonio Brown exited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a frustrated, shirtless kind of way in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at the MetLife Stadium, reportedly spurred by disagreement over whether Brown had an ankle injury that prevented him from taking the field.
A Twitter video showed Brown, a Bucs wide receiver for two seasons, take off his jersey, gloves and pads following two teammates, Mike Evans and O.J. Howard, who tried to calm him on the sidelines in the 3rd quarter. The video shows him abruptly expressing frustration. He threw his jersey, gloves and undershirt into the stands.
Bucs Coach Bruce Arians told Fox NFL Sunday’s Jay Glazier post-game that he had told the 33-year-old Brown to take the field and he refused twice. Arians told him to get out after his second refusal. Glazier asked him if he saw Brown remove his shirt, and he said, “Yeah, I did. Never seen anything like it in all my years.”
Find out what’s happening in Tampa with free, real-time updates from Patch.Following his shirt and gear stripping, Brown ran across the end zone with both his hands in the air, encouraging fans to cheer him on. He then waved and made his way into the tunnel.
Fans everywhere were confused, like BarStool Sports, which posted on Twitter, “What the hell is Antonio Brown doing?!”
Find out what’s happening in Tampa with free, real-time updates from Patch.Reporters asked Arians for details about the Brown incident during the post-game Bucs’ win 28-24 interview. All he told reporters, “I’m not talking about him. He’s no longer part of the Bucs.”
Arians told ESPN he didn’t know why Brown didn’t want to take the field. The coach said it had nothing to do with an ankle injury Brown had been nursing. He and the offense staff thought he was healthy enough to play.
Brown disagreed and told the Buccaneers coaching staff he did not believe his ankle was healthy enough for him to continue playing, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“Antonio Brown did not believe that he was healthy,” Rapoport said. “He had been battling an ankle injury for the last several weeks — did not practice Thursday, did not practice Friday. So, of course he had some doubts whether or not he would be able to get out there and play.”
Rapoport added that Brown had been cleared to play Sunday’s game, and more than his ankle injury contributed to his exit.
Brown violated the league’s COVID-19 protocol by misrepresenting his vaccination status. In November, the Bucs suspended him for three games without pay.
Brown has a history of bringing drama to the NFL and his personal life, multiple outlets have reported. In 2019, after his brief stint with the New England Patriots, some of his family and a few former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates described him as a kind, compassionate person who could also become erratic, paranoid and prone to mood swings.
His dad, Eddie Brown, told ESPN in 2019 following his son’s release, that Antonio had a discussion with him at his South Florida home saying, “Maybe I need to change what I’m doing.”
His father told the outlet he urged his son to start therapy. ESPN could not confirm what kind of therapy he sought then. He did make reference to his therapist in a Twitter post in October 2019.
Sexual assault allegations surrounded Brown as a newly signed receiver for the Patriots. Brown’s former trainer, Britney Taylor, accused him of sexually assaulting her on three separate occasions in 2017 and 2018, multiple outlets reported. He was let go from the Patriots, and had to be cleared before he could return to the NFL, ESPN reported.
Bleacher Report said that Brown has been known to welcome conflict in the locker room as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported, “If Brown had a problem, he wouldn’t hold back in voicing his frustration, including once when (Steelers Quarterback Ben) Roethlisberger tried to enforce his no-music policy in the locker room. ‘F— you, cracker,’ Brown responded, according to one Steeler.”
He spent nine seasons with the Steelers before requesting a trade because of his deteriorating relationship with the team.
Former teammates, including Tom Brady, said they support and love Brown. In Sunday’s post-game interview, Brady said, “It’s a difficult situation,” hoping that everyone can help him in ways that he needs. “We all love him. We care about him deeply. We want to see him be at his best. Unfortunately it won’t be with our team.”
Brady added that he thinks everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things that are happening to Brown. He will continue his friendship with him.
Another Buc, Le’Veon Bell, who played with Brown when they represented the Steelers together, said he texted Brown immediately after the game to check on him, and he responded back.
“It’s tough,” he said. “Obviously, when I came over here, I was happy to be reunited with him. Unfortunately, it was only two games but at the end of the day, I wish the best for him outside of football or whatever’s next for him. I’ll still be hanging out with him, taking to him on a daily basis and I’ll continue to try and make plays for this team.”
Following Brown’s departure, Sunday afternoon, an NYC driver, Danny Chalet, posted a social media video of him and Brown after he gave him a ride. Prior to the ride, Brown is seen standing behind Chalet as he says, “Super grammy, super grammy—you know what time it is, baby.” This might have been an attempt to promote Brown’s rap song, “Pit Not The Palace,” released shortly after his departure from the stadium. The lyrics to the song do not sound as if they relate to Sunday’s incident.
He also posted the release on his Twitter feed Monday morning. He hasn’t said much about Sunday’s incident. In response to his Buccaneers release, he posted on Instagram, “Super Gremlin” with a hang loose hand emoji.
“Super Gremlin” is a song by Kodak Black. Many fans believe this Brown posted this to represent his relationship with the Bucs.
The chorus of the song says in part: “We could’ve been superstars/Can’t help it, now I’m reminiscing/Remember when we jackin’ cars/Now you better keep your distance/’Cause it’s not safe for you.”
The chorus of “Super Gremlin” has also led fans on social media to make connections between the lyrics and Brown’s situation.
If Brown’s career is over, he’ll finish with 928 receptions, 12,291 yards receiving and 83 TD catches. His stats are worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but it’ll be tough to convince voters to overlook the character concerns.
Associated Press contributed to this report
The rules of replying: Be respectful. This is a space for friendly local discussions. No racist, discriminatory, vulgar or threatening language will be tolerated. Be transparent. Use your real name, and back up your claims. Keep it local and relevant. Make sure your replies stay on topic. Review the Patch Community Guidelines.