‘Bucs threw me out like an animal’

Antonio Brown says he walked out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ game against the New York Jets because of an ankle injury and claims he was thrown out of the club “like an animal”.

Brown claims he was sacked before leaving the field and he played with “extreme” pain.

Tampa head coach Bruce Arians had said he was unaware of Brown’s injury.

It was immediately after the game that Arians said Brown “is no longer a Buc”.

Arians also said he he twice instructed Brown to enter the game and the 12-year veteran refused, which resulted in the head coach telling him to “get out”.

While on the sidelines during the game, Brown was apparently angered by a conversation with one of the team staff before stripping off his jersey and pads and leaving.

“I was cut first and then I went home,” said Brown,external-link who helped the Bucs win Super Bowl 55 last year.

“They threw me out like an animal and I refused to wear their brand on my body so I took my jersey off.”

In a statement released through his lawyer on Wednesday, Brown said Arians was aware of the ankle injury that had already forced his to miss several games earlier in the season.

He also claimed that he exchanged text messages with the head coach before the game about the problem.

Brown went on to say that he had painkillers injected in an attempt to play against the Jets.

After scans on Monday, which he says shows bone fragments in his ankle along with ligament damage and cartilage loss, Brown plans to have surgery before resuming his career.

“Once my surgery is complete, I’ll be back to 100% and looking forward to next season,” he said.

Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler with the Pittsburgh Steelers, has had a chequered career.

He was released by the New England Patriots in 2019 after one game amid allegations of sexual misconduct and threatening text messages. Brown denied the accusations.

He was suspended for the first half of the 2020 season after facing assault and burglary charges and was suspended for three games in December for misrepresenting a Covid-19 vaccination certificate.

Brown thanked the Buccaneers for helping him return to “productive football after I had difficulties that could have ended my career.”

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