Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers certainly took their fair share of heat for deciding to stick by Antonio Brown after his latest suspension, a three-game ban for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status. During Sunday’s game against the Jets, that choice appeared to backfire in a big way.
In the third quarter of Tampa Bay’s game at MetLife Stadium, Brown could be seen taking off his jersey and shoulder pads as Mike Evans looked to be attempting to calm him down. Evans eventually walked away and Brown continued undressing before throwing his undershirt and gloves to the crowd and jogging off the field. He made a big show of it and saluted the crowd on his way to the locker room.
A different kind of walk off: pic.twitter.com/cCF7cHSRqw— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 2, 2022
According to TJ Rives of Buccaneers Radio, Brown was benched for his antics and took it upon himself to leave the sideline.
As we just said on #GoBucs radio Antonio Brown was benched by Coach Bruce Arians before taking off his shoulder pads and jersey and throwing them down on the bench. He's gone to lockerrom on his own— TJ Rives (@BucSidelineGuy) January 2, 2022
For a guy who has had as many off-field issues as Brown, it’s hard to see this as anything other than the end of his time in Tampa Bay—and potentially his football career. Bruce Arians, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers front office gave the guy multiple chances and stuck their necks out for him, but this was perhaps the only way things would end for the ultra-talented receiver.
We’ll see how the Bucs choose to handle this following the game and in the coming days. Stay tuned...
UPDATE (4:26 p.m.): Asked about Brown’s situation after the Bucs finished off a 28-24 comeback win over the Jets, Bruce Arians said the wide receiver “is no longer a Buc.”
BA addresses the status of Antonio Brown: pic.twitter.com/gC7D8Csin2— xz - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 2, 2022
UPDATE (5:14 p.m.): Jay Glazer tweeted that he spoke to Bruce Arians, who said that he was trying to get Brown back in the game, but the receiver refused twice before the head coach told him to go.
Just talked to Bruce Arians who said he was trying to get AB to go into game & AB refused. Tried again Brown refused & Arians told him to get out. On if he saw AB take his jersey off.— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) January 2, 2022
“Yeah, I did. Never seen anything like it in all my years.” @NFLonFOX