Update: 4:15 p.m. ET (Jan. 6, 2021) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released a statement refuting Antonio Brown’s claims that he was ordered to play through injury. The statement reads as follows: “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have terminated the contract of Antonio Brown, effective immediately. While Antonio did receive treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday’s game, he was cleared to play by our medical team prior to the start of the game and at no point during the game did he indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play. We have attempted, multiple times throughout this week, to schedule an evaluation by an outside orthopedic specialist, yet Antonio has not complied. Maintaining the health and wellness of our players is of the utmost importance to our organization.”
Read the original story below.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Antonio Brown has accused the team’s head coach Bruce Arians of ordering him to play despite informing the team that he was injured and concerned for his own safety. In a statement posted on social media regarding his departure from the franchise, the star wide-receiver claims that he initially intended to play despite suffering from a hampered ankle due to pressure he faced “directly from” Arians, but ultimately informed Arians that he was not well enough to enter the game. He alleges that Arians became upset and began questioning the severity of Brown’s injury showing no concern for his physical well-being.
“He didn’t call for medical attention,” he wrote. “Instead, he shouted at me, ‘YOU’RE DONE!’ while he ran his fingers across his throat. Coach was telling me that if I didn’t play hurt, then I was done with the Bucs. I didn’t quit. I was cut.”
Brown, who says that the Buccaneers were aware of his ankle injury prior to the game, also claims the Bucs medical staff injected him with a “powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller” in an attempt to get him well enough to suit up and play.
Despite his allegations, Brown thanked the Buccaneers organization for giving him an opportunity and noted the success enjoyed on both sides during his tenure, albeit with a retort to assumptions that he would ever cheat the game.
“The Bucs helped me return to productive football after I had difficulties that could have ended my career. We worked together to resolve those difficulties, and I will always appreciate that,” wrote Brown. “Being apart of a Super Bowl champion team and then a contender is a dream come true. I make mistakes. I’m working on myself and I have positive influences around me. But one thing I don’t do is shy away from playing hard on the field. No one can accuse me of not giving it my all every play.”
Brown, who visited a doctor who found “broken bone fragments stuck in” his ankle, is expected to undergo surgery.