Jan 2, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) on the field before the game against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports


As soon as Antonio Brown took off his shirt and shoulder pads and waved to the MetLife Stadium crowd before heading into the tunnel and leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers behind, people started wondering what had led to this point. Bucs coach Bruce Arians tersely announced afterward that Brown was no longer with the team but questions remained given how much he and the organization had given the wide receiver chance after chance to play.

While Brown himself seemed to thank the team for his almost-two-year run with them, rumors swirled that he had been benched by Arians or that Brown had refused to enter the game at the behest of Arians.

NFL insider Ian Rapoport discussed the situation on Monday morning and provided the most details yet regarding what happened. According to Rapoport, Brown disagreed with the Bucs over his health and things went downhill from there.

“Antonio Brown did not believe he was healthy. … What he told the staff, from what I understand, is that he was not going into the game because, in his mind, he did not feel he was healthy,” Rapoport said. “The response from the offensive coaches and from Bruce Arians was, ‘If you are not going to go into the game when we tell you to go into the game, you cannot be here.’ At that point, they threw him off the sideline and then cut him from the team.”

It does give the incident a bit more context. And while the way Brown handled the situation was childish and excessive, it does showcase the strained relationship between the two sides and the push/pull for football players when they don’t feel as though the team has their best interests at heart.

Bruce Arians might have to start sharing a bit more information than he has been if he wants to set the record straight.

[Ian Rapoport]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.