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It has been 17, almost 18 months since Antonio Brown last played a snap in the NFL. To this point, he has been mostly quiet and vague on the reason for his impromptu retirement, but the 34-year-old former wide receiver recently sat down to tell his side of the story.
Brown bizarrely ripped off his jersey and shoulder pads, ran across the end zone shirtless, left the field and left the stadium during the Buccaneers’ game in New York on January 2, 2022.
Brown claimed that he was forced to play through an injury in aftermath of the strange outburst. The four-time First-Team All-Pro felt as though he was too injured to re-enter the game.
Brown said that Bruce Arians disagreed and told him to “get out.” Leaked texts with the head coach from before the game appeared to back up his claim to some extent.
Mike Evans later told his version of the incident after encouraging Brown not to go out in the manner that he ultimately did. The fellow Tampa Bay pass-catcher also said that injuries were among the reasons for his teammate’s outburst.
And then the entire thing, more or less, blew over. Brown transitioned into music and continued to find himself at the middle of multiple controversies. His time out of the league has been troublesome.
In the meantime, nothing more has been said about that game against the Jets. It has been nearly a year and a half. Brown has not played a single down in the NFL since his decision to quit.
Antonio Brown broke the silence and called out Tom Brady.
After all of this time, Brown is providing more details. He recently made an appearance on Tyreek Hill’s podcast, It Needed to Be Said of the Vocal Podcast Network, and got candid about what he felt went down.
Brown put a lot of the blame on Tom Brady, in addition to Arians.
As he has said before, entering that game against the Jets, he didn’t want to play. Brown’s ankle injury was giving him continued issues and he felt as though rest would be best before the playoffs.
Brady called him and “gassed him up.” That was all Brown needed to hear.
Tom [Brady] called me like ‘Yo this week man the Jets man, they sweet man imma hit you with like 10 to 12 [targets] […]
That’s all I need to hear like ‘yo you gonna throw me the ball,’ this is like me saying like I got a new crib like you know me, you know what I’m saying […]
Tom Brady done hit me up like ‘yo this a big week,’ so I’m like f—k it. I know my sh*t’s f—ked up, but if he’s going to f—k with me like that, why not?— Antonio Brown, via It Needed To Be Said podcast
Although he was injured and felt like the Tampa Bay organization repeatedly treated him “like a little dog,” Brown decided to suit up. He was targeted five times before leaving the game in the third quarter.
Brown felt underutilized and unsupported.
Five targets wasn’t enough in his mind. Brown wanted to be used more in the offense and did not feel as though Brady made good on multiple promises.
You don’t want to throw me the ball and you making me like I’m crazy, so, I was like, ‘I’m crazy? F—k all you motherf—kers, I’m out of here.’— Antonio Brown, via It Needed To Be Said podcast
In addition, Brown alleged that Brady promised that his personal trainer would be able to work on him prior to the game. Upon arrival to the stadium, the former said that was not the case.
He claims that Brady’s trainer refused to work with him because he was already being treated by the Buccaneers’ medical staff. That brought bad energy, which only began the spiral.
The rest is history.
Brown quit. He was later released and has not played since.
Antonio Brown’s full comments can be found here: