Antonio Brown Could Be Pursuing ‘Civil Lawsuit’ Against Buccaneers

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown intends to pursue legal action against the team for releasing him after he said he was too injured to continue playing against the New York Jets in early January.

In an appearance on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," Brown's attorney Sean Burstyn said they will pursue money for Brown's ankle surgery and money they feel he is owed by the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.

Brown released a statement on Jan. 5 and said: “I suited up, the staff injected me with what I now know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it my all for the team."

Burstyn said they are looking into a possible civil lawsuit in the form of defamation for the Bucs claiming Brown had a spontaneous mental health episode.

"Antonio was defamed by this spin that he had a mental health episode that makes him someone who's not reliable to do a good job on the field," Burstyn said. "So we're pursuing internally all of our rights under the CBA and considering them and maybe stepping outside of the CBA."

Just after the game, head coach Bruce Arians said Brown never said he was injured on the field and the conversation the two had wasn't related in any way to his ankle. “I don’t know that he was ,” Arians said.

"All of our options are on the table," Burstyn continued. "We're going to hold to account the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bruce Arians, the general manager to the extent anyone who's responsible for this spin that Antonio isn't reliable to do a good job playing football because he doesn't have the mental fortitude to do it. They'll be held to account."

Burstyn said he spoke with Arians, who said Brown did actually voice that ankle was injured — this conflicts with the head coach's version of events told to the media immediately following the game.

Ahead of the situation at MetLife Stadium, Brown had previously missed six weeks due to an ankle injury and returned in Week 16 against the Panthers. Just days after the Week 17 game, Brown posted a series of text messages between him and Arians concerning his ankle injury.

Brown claimed that Tampa Bay offered him $200,000 to sit on the sideline and commit himself to mental health treatment, which Brown refused to do.

"These guys at the Tampa Bay Bucs tried to make an agreement with me to give me $200,000 to go to the crazy house so these guys could look like they know what they were talking about," Brown said.

When asked if he believed he needed mental help of any kind, Brown said, "I have mental wealth, man. I know a lot of people may not understand me, know how I look at things or don't know how I react emotional things, but it's not for them to understand me. I've got a beautiful family, kids and people all across the world that look up to me, and it's no reason I'm in this position at this point."

But as OutKick's Anthony Farris reports, maybe the shirtless jaunt across MetLife Stadium wasn’t the last we’ll see of Brown after all.

The free-agent wideout seems to be interested in returning to the league next fall and is looking for a return to the AFC North, just not with the Pittsburgh Steelers.