Since then, especially as the team hadn’t made an official move regarding the player, speculation and a battle of words largely held in the media ensued.
Those in Tampa asserted no wrongdoing had been perpetrated by the organization, while Brown himself claimed to have been mistreated by Arians, specifically.
On Thursday morning, the franchise took at least one important step towards moving themselves away from Brown completely, releasing the 12-year veteran.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have terminated the contract of Antonio Brown, effective immediately,” the franchise stated via press release. “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. 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.”
While the tale of what happened Sunday afternoon in MetLife Stadium as the Bucs were mounting a comeback against the Jets may still have more chapters left to be told, now the two sides can officially move on from one another.
For the Buccaneers, this means a home contest to wrap their regular season against the Carolina Panthers this Sunday afternoon.
Brown on the other hand would appear headed towards ankle surgery if his claims through representatives and in the media are true.
If, by some convenient shift in health, Brown is able to continue playing into the NFL Playoffs this season he is subject to waivers. This means teams interested in his services would have to place a claim on him and adopt the remainder of his contract should they be awarded the player.
Given the time of year, it’s hard to imagine a non-playoff team putting in a claim, meaning the Philadelphia Eagles would be the first contending team with a shot at adding Brown to their postseason roster.
The story of Brown’s time is done in Tampa, but the story of his exit is probably far from finished.