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TAMPA, Fla. – Fresh after being released from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, wide receiver Antonio Brown had a lot to say on Friday and aired his frustrations over everything from how the Buccaneers handled his ankle injury on Sunday to his relationship with Tom Brady, who was based. on a common interest in winning.
“To me, a friend is someone who has your back,” Brown said on “Full Send Podcast” Friday. “Not everyone in sports wants to be your friends. Tom Brady is my friend why? Because I’m a good football player. He needs me to play football. People have different meanings of what friendship is.”
Brown’s comments about Brady were a sharp departure from what he has said in the past, comparing the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback to a “big brother” and calling him a “role model” after Brady twice invited Brown to move in. with him, first with the New England Patriots and then in Tampa Bay.
“I mean, you can not really expect anyone to be your friend in the football industry,” Brown said in a separate interview Friday on “Tapped In Daily” at the Clubhouse. “The game is football, but our business is to win. Me and Tom Brady have something in common with winners. We like to win. We like to compete. We like to be the best. So we have that in common. It’s what makes me want to be around him, it’s what makes us play together, it’s what makes us tease, it brings greatness. “
Brady has vowed to Brown on several occasions amid criticism from the wide receiver, who missed 11 games due to suspension over the last two seasons. Prior to signing with the Bucs in October 2020, Brown was suspended for eight games for violating the NFL’s personal behavior policy after claiming no competition for burglary and assault and received two years probation for his role in a clash with the driver of A move. company truck driver. Brown had also been the subject of an NFL investigation following an allegation of sexual misconduct in his home by an artist who worked there in 2017.
“We all love him. We love him a lot. We want to see him be at his best. Unfortunately, it will not be with our team,” Brady said Sunday. “I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic about some very difficult things happening.”
On the “Full Send Podcast,” Brown first remarked that it was not “personal” with Brady, calling him “one of my close friends.” However, he also suggested that Brady might have been responsible for not getting the contract he thought he deserved.
Brown signed a one-year deal this offseason worth up to $ 6.25 million. The incentive-filled deal involved a guaranteed $ 3.1 million with a $ 2 million signature bonus.
Brown referred to Brady as “general manager,” a position held by Jason Licht, and said the quarterback negotiated his contract. Licht told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Brown and his agent tried to get Brown’s remaining $ 2 million in incentives guaranteed, but the request was denied.
“To say someone is my friend – I’m out here and get ‘proof it’ type contracts where I’m out here, they made me try to make a million dollars to get some kind of catch,” Brown said. about Brady. “So to say you’re my friend – I did not have to bet on those kinds of deals when I just came with you and won the Super Bowl.
“So I think people like to be around me and spend time with me, but they can not even see my value in that. If you check the statistics and the history, which is what we get paid by, as we go about., work and the intangible – I would think I could earn more than worrying about making money instead of worrying about winning another Super Bowl. “
Along with dealing with his ankle injury, Brown’s frustration also stems from what he called unfair punishment when an NFL investigation this season found that he and two other teammates – Mike Edwards and John Franklin III – used fake COVID-19- vaccination card. He has also criticized how he has been portrayed by the media and said two weeks ago: “You guys are about drama.”
“How I’ve been handled, how I keep being handled, how I keep getting slandered, how I keep being made like a bad guy – I know America loves its bad guys – but I’m a great guy, “Brown said at the Clubhouse. “I just won a Super Bowl, I’m an American hero, I endured through several adversities.
“I took a COVID suspension without evidence and information that was presented correctly and came back and got 100 yards on half an ankle – a deltoid, a torn ligament, broken bones in my ankle. Nobody talks about the great things I’ve been able to persevere and do it. I have been fired by teams, written badly about, bad statements, created bad stories, and no matter what has been said, I continue to persevere and get through with the work. “
“I know America loves its bad guys – but I’m a great guy. I just won a Super Bowl, I’m an American hero, I endured through several adversities.”
How does Brown remember Sunday’s events at MetLife Stadium, where he took off his jersey, threw gloves and an undershirt in the stands, jogged into the goal zone and made jumping jacks, leaving the game in the third quarter while both teams were on the field playing?
“The coach said, ‘Get f — out of here.’ I say, ‘Yo, f — you too!’ “I take your logo off, I do not wear this s — no more. I threw it away,” Brown said. “Now imagine that you hear 60,000 people say, ‘Yes, AB!’ My f — adrenaline got so high. I just got too sexy for my clothes, but … I started giving the fans what they wanted. They want gloves, they want shirts. “
He added: “How can you treat someone like that when they can not work? You just cut them from the sidelines? Like what am I kidding now?”
Coach Bruce Arians, who had also publicly vouched for Brown and kept him on the team despite his three-game suspension, said there was no conversation with the receiver about his ankle during the match. Arians said Brown never told him he was too hurt to continue.
The two had written a text message about his ankle during the week, in which Brown later sent screenshots of the conversation, and Arians confirmed that they were authentic. Brown was on the injury report after a lack of training on Thursday and Friday of the game week, but took part in Saturday’s walk and was allowed to play on Sunday. But Brown said he was too hurt to continue playing.
“It’s about integrity. If you have a player, players have rights. You have the right to tell the coach, ‘coach, I can not go in the game,'” Brown said. “If it made the coach irrational or emotionally charged, I can not do my job, then it is not humane.”
Brown indicated he would like to continue playing football after undergoing ankle surgery.
“Of course I’m planning to play football next season. Can you see what I’ve been able to do on an injured ankle?” said Brown. “It’s been four years since I’ve been able to stand in this situation where I could be in good health and a good team that really has my back. These guys have treated me with the opposite of who I am , and I have been able to accept that role for a few years of respect.
‘ has for me. “
Meanwhile, Brown said he plans to coach a team in the Fan Controlled Football League (FCF) – a league that featured Johnny Manziel last year and has owners that include Marshawn Lynch, Austin Ekeler and Tiki and Ronde Barber.
A source confirmed to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert that the league is working on an agreement to complete Brown as a coach.