Buc’s looser Brown, says he was allowed to play

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Four days after broadband receiver Antonio Brown threw off his helmet and hurried off the field in the middle of a game against the New York Jets, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have terminated his contract with effect immediately, the team announced Thursday.

“While Antonio received treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday’s match, he was given permission to play by our medical team before the start of the match and he did so at no point in the match. staff that he could not play.

“We have tried, several times during this week, to schedule an evaluation by an external orthopedic specialist, but Antonio has not complied with it. Maintaining the health and well-being of our players is of the utmost importance to our organization.”

Brown and attorney Sean Burstyn said Wednesday that the broadband receiver told the Buccaneers he was too injured to continue playing on an injured ankle, but coach Bruce Arians denied having any knowledge of the nature of his outburst, and he said either not that Brown communicated to him or to the training staff that his ankle bothered him.

“At no point in that match did he ever ask the coach or the doctor about his ankle – that’s the normal protocol,” Arians said Thursday. “We review protocols during matches. I was never told about it. It was clear it was a disturbing thing. We were looking for him to go back to the game.”

Arians said Brown was agitated during the break of Sunday’s game against the Jets over not reaching the goals he had expected and that he needed to be reassured.

Brown’s lawyer told ESPN that the recipient’s ankle injury, not the goal, was the source of Brown’s frustration.

To which Arians replied with a laugh: “The players know the truth.”

Things escalated in the third quarter.

“We called for the staff group that he had played throughout the game. He refused to participate in the game,” Arians said. “That was when I looked back and saw him basically waving at the coach. Then I went back, approached him about what was going on.”

Arians said Brown said, “I’m not playing.”

Arians said he asked, “What’s going on?”

He said Brown responded with, “I’m not getting the ball.”

“That’s when I said, ‘You’re done, get the F’s out of here,” said Arians, who added that he pointed to the exits and did not make a throat-cutting gesture that Brown accused him of.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht told ESPN on Thursday that Brown and his agent last week requested that the remaining $ 2 million in contract incentives for this season be guaranteed. The team declined this request, but Arians said he has always supported the Browns and all other players’ missions to meet their incentives.

Brown, who missed 10 weeks (9 games) this season due to injury and suspension, was 28 catches, 255 receiving yards and three touchdowns from meeting the $ 2 million criteria.

In Wednesday’s statement, Brown said he was forced to play on an injured ankle that will require surgery, which is why he left Sunday’s match so abruptly in the third quarter.

Arians said he would never force a player to play while injured.

“You can’t force a player to play,” Arians said. “They have that choice. It’s their body. He decided to play. He and Mike [Evans] both were on track count. We tried to control it as best we could in the first half. “

An NFL spokesman told ESPN on Thursday that Brown would not be subject to league discipline for his actions during Sunday’s game. The NFL also declined to comment when ESPN asked if the league was investigating Brown’s allegations against the Bucs.

Upset on the sidelines, Brown, who had been on the field for 26 games, took off his jersey, pillows and undershirt, and he threw his jersey and gloves on the stands. He then crashed across the goal zone while both teams were on the field, waving to fans as he walked to the locker room.

He accused the Buccaneers of mischaracterizing his outburst on the court as a “mental health problem” rather than as a refusal to play due to pain.

Licht said Brown did not tell anyone in Buc’s medical staff Sunday that his ankle bothered him before or during the fight.

Licht said the Buccaneers made “reasonable adjustments” to end this case early this week if Brown actually had an injury from the match and that the broadband receiver refused to cooperate.

Brown said Wednesday that on Monday he underwent an MRI scan that revealed broken bone fragments, a ligament torn from the bone and loss of cartilage. He also said the Bucs were trying to send him to a “junior doctor” compared to the two he was seeking in New York City, including Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery, where he had planned surgery. He claims Bucs gave him “a few hours’ notice to show up” and “ordered him under disciplinary action.”

Licht told ESPN that the Bucs made two medical appointments in New York for Brown so they could place him on the injured reserve and pay him for the rest of the year, and that he missed both appointments. The team could still have put him on injured reserve if Brown sent his medical records, but he did not return their texts and calls, Licht said.

Licht said the Bucs could have set up those deals in Tampa, too, but said they knew Brown was in New York and thought they were trying to oblige him. Brown and his agent declined to send Bucs his medical information from their doctor’s visit this week, Licht said, and he still has not returned the team’s call.

Thursday morning, Brown posted screenshots to social media with text exchanges with Arians from Thursday, December 30 and Friday about the status of his ankle, with the caption on Instagram with: “Coach said we never talked together.”

Arians said he corresponded with Brown during the week about the ankle, and he said the text messages Brown posted on Instagram about their conversation were authentic.

“You saw the text,” Arians said. “If you can go on Saturday, I want you on the team. If you can go. He attended Saturday’s review as if he should. There were never any more questions about it.”

But that conversation did not take place on the sidelines, Arians said.

In another post, Brown said none of his teammates knew about the alleged discussion with Arians.

“Do not get it distorted. My brothers have been good to me. From Tom [Brady] to train teams, we were a top-level unit, ” Brown wrote on Twitter. “They have been good to me and knew nothing about my conversations with the coach last week. The team abused this situation. They let me down and, more importantly, my teammates.”

He also posted a complaint Thursday about a deal with Brady’s coach Alex Guerrero and tagged Brady in the posts, saying: “@TomBrady guy @ ag_TB12 charges $ 100,000 for never doing the work on me! How do you work with people like this at all! This is what I was dealing with. ” He posted something similar on Twitter, which he later removed, with: “… must be apart of these guys’ plans all the time.”

Brady said on Thursday: “I think there’s a lot of personal feelings. However, I do not think it’s really the week to discuss it. I just want to do the best I can as a quarterback for the team, try to put together a great week and finish strong. You just always deal with different things during a season. That’s what we do this week. “

Brown sustained ankle injury in Week 6 and missed five games. He was then suspended for three games after an NFL investigation revealed he had produced a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

He returned in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers and caught 10 passes for 101 receiving yards. But he also exacerbated the injury and as a result was a non-participant in the Thursday and Friday training sessions last week and was officially questionable leading into the Jets game.

Arians was not at these drills because he was quarantined at home after testing positive for COVID-19, but he was kept up to date with all drills and player status updates.

Arians said he had no indication that things were different with Brown coming off his suspension when he returned two weeks ago, nor was there a problem this week. He said he was surprised at how things worked out.

“I’m hurt, but I still want the best for him,” Arians said of Brown, who he has known since Arians was offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers when Brown was drafted. “Just get the help you need.”

Burstyn said he feels the Bucs are continuing to change their history.

“If Antonio could turn on his ankle as fast as the Bucs have withdrawn their previous version of events, none of this would have ever happened,” Burstyn told ESPN Thursday afternoon. “They are now on their fourth version of events in as many days.”

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