NEW YORK, NY – Antonio Brown is no longer a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. During he first half of their game at the New York Jets, Brown took off his pads and uniform top and tossed them on the bench. Brown then took off his shirt and threw it to the crowd, and jumped around the end zone waving his arms before running into the stadium tunnel.
Immediately after the game, which was a last minute 28-24 win over the Jets, Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians had had enough.
“He is no longer a Buc,” Arians said after the game. “That’s the end of the story. Let’s talk about the guys who went out there and won the game.”
He wasn’t welcome to fly back to Tampa with the Bucs, according to multiple reports.
Tom Brady, who fought hard to get the Bucs to sign Brown in the first place last season, asked everyone to be “compassionate and empathetic” toward him after the game.
The incident happened late in the third quarter with the Jets leading, 24-10. Fox Sports’ Jen Hale reported that teammates Mike Evans and O.J. Howard tried to sooth an upset Brown as he took off his jersey and shoulder pads.
While both teams remained on the field during a break in play, Brown ran to the end zone, where he performed his jumping jacks and gave the crowd a peace sign before exiting to the tunnel. It wasn’t clear immediately after the game what prompted the scene. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reports that Arians told him that he told Brown to re-enter the game and he refused prior to leaving the field.
Brown was in the midst of his second game back from a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols after he was accused of obtaining a fake vaccine card.
The Bucs signed Brown in 2020 on the heels of an eight-game NFL ban following multiple allegations of rape and sexual misconduct and a no-contest plea on a felony burglary conveyance charge. Arians said when Brown signed: “He screws up one time, he’s gone.”
Arians then welcomed Brown back from his three-game suspension with the Bucs in the midst of a chase for the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. Sunday’s incident proved a step too far for the Bucs head coach.