Tampa Bay Buccaneers release Antonio Brown after Sunday's mid-game walkout
Four days after Antonio Brown dramatically threw off his pads and jersey and walked off the football field mid-game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially released the wide receiver.
"While Antonio did receive treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday's game, he was cleared to play by our medical team prior to the start of the game and at no point during the game did he indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play," the team said in a statement issued Thursday.
The statement went on: "We have attempted, multiple times throughout this week, to schedule an evaluation by an outside orthopedic specialist, yet Antonio has not complied. Maintaining the health and wellness of our players is of the utmost importance to our organization."
Brown's contract was terminated effective immediately.
This was to be expected. After Sunday's game, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told media that Brown is "no longer a Buc," due to his third-quarter walkout.
Brown and his attorney Sean Burstyn have issued a statement detailing their own version of events that led up to Sunday's dramatics.
They said Brown's ankle was too hurt to continue playing in Sunday's game against the New York Jets, but that he was being forced to go out onto the field by the team.
Burstyn also denied Brown's mid-game departure had anything to do with mental health issues — a theory that was going around in the days after.
"His injury can clearly be seen on the MRI image taken Monday morning," Burstyn said on Twitter. "Among other things, you can plainly see a piece of loose BONE from the outside that is pressing into his ankle joint and a ligament snapped clean off the bone. (He will recover, but needs surgery.)"
But on Thursday during a press conference, Arians refuted that account.
Arians said during the game he had no knowledge of the reason behind Brown's agitation and said his now-former wide receiver didn't talk to him or team staff about his ankle issues prior to being asked to get in the game.
Arians' attempts to talk to Brown during that game went nowhere, the coach said.
"That's when I said, 'You're done. Get the F out of here.'"