Antonio Brown

Buccaneers Officially Waive Antonio Brown

Thursday’s transaction report revealed, after days of uncertainty, the Buccaneers waived Antonio Brown. As the back-and-forth between the parties persists, Brown is no longer a member of the team.

Brown has announced he will undergo ankle surgery, which would certainly make the prospect of a team claiming the mercurial star highly unlikely. A Brown claim would be known by Friday afternoon. Brown was not waived with an injury designation, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets.

This marks the fourth time in the past two-plus years a team has parted ways with Brown. The Steelers traded him to the Raiders in March 2019, and the Raiders released him after a turbulent training camp. The Patriots released Brown in September 2019, after deploying him in one game. Because the trade deadline has long since passed, Brown is subject to the waiver wire. But he is likely headed back to free agency.

Brown’s latest exit stems from his midgame walkout against the Jets. Although Bruce Arians said immediately after the game Brown was done in Tampa, the Bucs spent days weighing their options on separating from the 12th-year veteran. Part of the delay appeared to center around the prospect of yet another team giving Brown an opportunity. After a Brown’s statement that accused the Bucs of forcing him to play through injury surfaced Wednesday night, the defending champions cut their losses.

Arians countered AB’s assertions Thursday, indicating Brown’s refusal to re-enter Sunday’s Jets matchup took place because he was frustrated about targets.

He was very upset at halftime about who was getting targeted,” Arians said, via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “Got that calmed down; players took care of that. It started again on the sideline. We called for the personnel group that he had played in the entire game. He refused to go in the game. That’s when I looked back and saw him basically wave off the coach. I then went back, approached him about what was going on. ‘I ain’t playing.’ What’s going on? ‘I ain’t getting the ball.’ That’s when I said, ‘You’re done. Get the eff out of here.'”

The optics of Brown jogging and dancing as he left the field at MetLife Stadium are not great for his stance that injury was behind the dismissal, but he did not practice after aggravating his ankle malady on Dec. 29. Brown nevertheless suited up and caught three of the five passes thrown his way for 26 yards.

The Bucs gave Brown an incentive package that would have guaranteed him $334K by reaching 50 catches. That was merely Brown’s lowest-tier incentive, but it became relevant after he missed nine games because of contracting COVID-19, being suspended due to his faked vaccine card, and the ankle injury. Brown collected a $2MM signing bonus and $1.1MM in base salary this season, but issues staying on the field cost him incentive dollars.

Interestingly, Bucs GM Jason Licht added that Brown asked last week, despite coming off a three-game suspension, for his $2MM in remaining incentives to be guaranteed. The Bucs, understandably, declined. Licht also said Brown did not communicate his ankle was bothering him pregame or during the game (Twitter links via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). Regardless of how we got here, this marks yet another messy exit for Brown, who was on a first-ballot Hall of Fame path before his Steelers divorce.

Brown’s intention to undergo surgery stands to end his season. This release comes barely a week after Arians praised AB for growing while in Tampa. Arians had said Brown being cut because of the fake vaccination card was in play but agreed to take him back after his suspension ended. While the Bucs are the latest team to regret taking the gamble on Brown’s talent — a move Arians initially resisted before Tom Brady‘s preference won out — the former All-Pro played well, for the most part, when available this season. Based on recent history, it would not shock if Brown resurfaced elsewhere in 2022. But his age (34 this summer) and obvious baggage will work against him.

Latest On Antonio Brown

The Antonio Brown saga continues. On Thursday morning, AB tweeted a screenshot of an exchange with trainer Alex Guerrero, accusing Tom Brady‘s business partner of pocketing unearned cash (Twitter link via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com). Unfortunately, AB did more than just air dirty laundry — he also appears to have shared his own private bank account information.

Brown’s latest social media snafu may negate any sympathy earned by the statement he issued last night. Through his attorney, Brown explained that he has a bone fragment and ligament damage in his ankle, plus an MRI to prove it. He also alleged that head coach Bruce Arians ordered him to play to play, despite knowing that he was hurt. Brown says that when he refused, Arians responded by saying “you’re done” and gesturing with a finger across his throat.

The wide receiver also posted a text exchange with Arians (Twitter link) detailing his ankle malady. Arians, for his part, has said that he didn’t know that Brown was injured. At least, he didn’t know that Brown was too injured to play in that moment. That’s where the two stories truly diverge — Arians already knew about the problematic ankle that sidelined Brown earlier in the year, but he seems to be saying that Sunday’s sideline blowup was about something else.

As of this moment, Brown technically remains on the Buccaneers’ roster. But, as Arians told reporters over the weekend, he is “no longer a Buc.” It had been speculated that the Buccaneers were holding on to Brown in order to keep him away from other teams, but he won’t be hooking on with anyone for the 2021-22 playoffs.

Once my surgery is complete,” said Brown in the statement. “I’ll be back to 100%… looking forward to next season.”

Latest on Antonio Brown, 1/5/22

It’s only been three days since Buccaneers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown walked off the field mid-game to much animosity, but the numerous updates have been nearly as dramatic as his exit. 

By now, I certainly don’t need to recap the origin of this conversation, but, in case you’ve been living under a rock, you can read about how Brown left the field mid-game due to a disagreement over playing with a lingering ankle injury and how head coach Bruce Arians made his stance clear that he wanted Brown off the team, but, up to this point in time, Tampa Bay has not released him in order to keep him from joining an opposing team.

In case this soap opera was not entertaining enough, the NFL washed their hands of the matter today, according to a tweet from Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud, claiming that Brown is not subject to the league’s personal conduct policy.

In the same day, Brown appeared on the team’s injury report with the designation “Not Injury Related – Personal,” while Arians said Brown’s roster status is a management decision, making it clear that Brown is not part of the team going forward.

If this is too much drama for you, I’ve got bad news. Later in the day, Brown’s attorney, Sean Burstyn, posted a Twitter thread wherein he, on behalf of his client, accused Tampa Bay of the fairly serious acts of ordering his client to play with a known and documented injury and then attempting to cover up their malfeasances by asking Brown to take the blame off of them and to put it on mental illness. He calls out the team for disowning his client while still retaining his client’s rights and promises a future statement from Brown, which came about an hour later.

Adam Schefter, of ESPN, tweeted out the typed-up statement that details the entire confrontation, as well as its precursors and after-effects, from Brown’s point-of-view. Brown pulls no punches in the statement, doubling down on his lawyer’s accusations and painting a portrait of a domineering organization that has no regard for his physical or mental health.

There’s sure to be a rebuttal from Tampa Bay, but, usually in media, the loudest voice is the most recent. And just like he says his “business” will be next season when he’s healthy, right now, Brown’s voice is “BOOMIN!”

Buccaneers Still Haven’t Cut WR Antonio Brown

As of this moment, Antonio Brown is still on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For the second day in a row, the wideout didn’t make an appearance on the NFL’s transaction report, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

[RELATED: Buccaneers To Cut Antonio Brown]

On Sunday, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians indicated that Brown’s stint with the organization had come to an end, but the actual transaction has yet to take place. Per Mark Maske of The Washington Post (via Twitter), the Buccaneers are still talking with the NFL about how they should proceed. The organization is specifically concerned with “procedural issues and which designation” they should use on the wideout, and the Buccaneers’ inquiry has made its way to the NFL Players Association.

Meanwhile, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times confirms (on Twitter) what most have suspected: the Buccaneers don’t want Brown to be claimed by another squad. The reporter opines that the organization could ultimately turn to the personal conduct policy’s “Conduct Detrimental clause” as a way to avoid any guaranteed money.

To review: Brown and Arians reportedly had a spat on the sideline during Sunday’s win over the Jets, with Brown refusing to enter the game due to his injured ankle. Brown proceeded to emphatically exit the game, and Arians later indicated that Brown was no longer a member of the organization. Fast forward 48 hours, and Brown still hasn’t earned his walking papers. Brown’s camp is now claiming that the receiver was truly concerned about his ankle, and if Brown decides to stick to that story, that could be another explanation for the lack of a transaction.

Buccaneers To Cut Antonio Brown

Thursday, 11:14 am: As reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Bucs have officially released Brown. An official team statement reads in part, “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.” It adds that Brown has not complied with numerous attempts by the club to have his ankle evaluated by a specialist. Schefter further reports that Brown was “agitated” over a lack of targets at halftime in the game, and needed calming down at that point. In a press conference, Arians recalled the situation, saying that Brown told him, “I ain’t playing; I ain’t getting the ball”, to which Arians responded, “You’re done. Get the f- out of here”. 

The move was widely expected to take place at some point, and brings the receiver’s time in Tampa Bay to an end once and for all. Brown is now officially on waivers, though it is highly unlikely he gets claimed, as he has stated he plans on having surgery on the ankle.

Monday, 10:49pm: According to an interview with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, people close to Antonio Brown are claiming that Brown didn’t truly believe his ankle was was healthy enough to play on. Brown did miss practice Thursday and Friday leading up to the game due to his ankle. He apparently loudly made it known at halftime that he was unhappy. Arians called for him to enter the game and, when Brown refused, he was told he was done and Brown’s antics ensued. This paints the situation in a slightly different light. While Brown’s exit was clearly unprofessional, this record of events paints Brown as a victim looking out for his own health and provides a bit of reasoning to support his actions, however overblown they may have been.

This has led to a situation wherein the Buccaneers are talking to the league office about “procedural steps” and a proper “designation” for Brown, as reported by Mike Florio of NBC Sports. This poses a number of speculations as to the intentions of Tampa Bay. This could mean there is some truth to Brown’s side of the story and the Buccaneers don’t want to waive an ailing player. It could mean that Tampa Bay is worried about Brown hitting waivers and popping up on another roster in the postseason. It could just mean that the Buccaneers are doing their homework to make sure they have their bases covered when they do release the troubled receiver. Stay tuned in, and we’ll be on top of whatever result comes out of central Florida.

Monday, 5:00pm: The Buccaneers did not officially release Antonio Brown today, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). While the move is still anticipated, the organization is having “ongoing discussions with the NFL” about how to proceed.

Sunday, 3:17pm: Antonio Brown is no longer a member of the Buccaneers, head coach Bruce Arians announced. This comes just minutes after Brown took himself out of Sunday’s game against the Jets and undressed en route to the tunnel.

The Buccaneers have put up with a lot of AB drama over the last two years, but this was clearly the final straw. With Chris Godwin sidelined, the multiple-time Pro Bowl wide receiver would have been in line for plenty of playoff targets. Instead, despite the pleas of Mike Evans and O.J. Howard, he bailed on his team.

Brown had just three grabs for 26 yards before his self-imposed exit, but he dominated last week with ten catches for 101 yards against the Panthers. There will be no more of that — his 2021 will end with 39 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns across six games. It’s also worth noting that Brown was on pace to collect an extra $1MM in bonuses. All AB had to do was record eight more catches, 55 more receiving yards, and one more receiving touchdown.

Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler, missed much of the year with an ankle injury, followed by a three-game ban for using a phony vaccination card. At one point in time, the league considered a 6-8 game ban for Brown. The Buccaneers also discussed the possibility of extending Brown’s hiatus beyond the suspension, but ultimately relented after Godwin’s ACL tear.

Even without Brown, the Bucs went on to beat the Jets and advance to 12-4. Their depth will be tested even more as they head into the postseason without AB, Godwin, and (possibly) starting running back Leonard Fournette.

Latest On Antonio Brown

Before his abrupt exit from yesterday’s game, Antonio Brown told staffers that he would be unable to continue due to his injured ankle (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). When he was pushed to re-enter the game, Brown refused, undressed, and sprinted to the tunnel.

[RELATED: Buccaneers To Cut Antonio Brown]

The Bucs, without Brown, went on to complete a comeback win over the Jets. Immediately after the game, head coach Bruce Arians told reporters that the mercurial wide receiver was “no longer a Buc.”

Brown is now technically up for grabs, available on the waiver wire for playoff-bound clubs and hopefuls. It’s still unlikely that anyone will roll the dice on him, but the injured ankle does provide a bit of context for his viral moment. In his defense, the injury has hampered Brown throughout the year, all the way through Thursday and Friday when he was unable to practice.

For all of his off-the-field missteps, Brown has been stellar when on the field and healthy. Heading into Sunday, he had amassed 39 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns across just six games. Now, after a quiet first half against the Jets and a very loud exit, his 2021 ends with a 42/545/4 line in seven contests.

Antonio Brown Bails On Bucs-Jets

Antonio Brown took off his uniform, chucked pieces of his gear into the stands, and left the field midway through Sunday’s game against the Jets. There’s no word from the team just yet, but this will likely mark the end of his Buccaneers tenure.

[RELATED: Bruce Arians Clears COVID-19 Protocols]

As noted on the FOX telecast (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport), teammates O.J. Howard and Mike Evans tried to calm AB down midway through his outburst. They were unsuccessful as Brown jogged to the locker room half naked.

With star wide receiver Chris Godwin out for the year, Brown figured to be a key part of the Bucs’ playoff offense. The timing is even more confusing given Brown’s contract. As noted by Spotrac (Twitter link), Brown was on the verge of collecting serious bonus money. With eight more catches ($333K), 55 receiving yards ($333K), and one receiving touchdown ($333K), Brown would have made an extra $1MM this year.

Instead, Brown is probably done with the Buccaneers and, possibly, football altogether. The rest of the Bucs, meanwhile, went on to rally and beat the Jets, 28-24.

Bruce Arians Clears COVID-19 Protocols

Bruce Arians will be on the sidelines for the Buccaneers on Sunday in New Jersey. The defending Super Bowl champions’ head coach cleared COVID-19 protocols Saturday, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com notes.

A three-time cancer survivor, Arians contracted COVID-19 earlier this week. Arians, 69, is fully vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms, Laine adds. Assistant head coach Harold Goodwin served as the Bucs’ acting HC this week. Wide receivers coach Kevin Garver cleared virus protocols as well Saturday.

The Bucs saw a few other starters test positive this week, but the NFL changing its protocols once again has made it easier for players to return after submitting positive tests. Mike Evans, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean are back on Tampa Bay’s active roster. Evans is questionable for Week 17 due to a hamstring injury. Both Dean and Murphy-Bunting traveled separately to New Jersey due to their late activations.

While the Bucs will at least have their head coach and key corners back, they will be without top pass rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul due to injury. Tampa Bay also has Leonard Fournette and Lavonte David on IR. Antonio Brown is questionable to face the Jets after aggravating an ankle injury in practice. Brown has not practiced since tweaking his ankle Wednesday.

Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards To Rejoin Buccaneers

Like country singer Vince Gill in 1993, Antonio Brown is getting one more last chance. When the Buccaneers receiver joined the team last season, head coach Bruce Arians told him that “there will be no second chances,” so Brown’s recent suspension for misrepresenting his vaccination status theoretically put his roster spot in jeopardy.

Indeed, Arians said earlier this month that no decision had been made with respect to Brown’s future with the team. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Brown will rejoin the Bucs on Monday (the club’s contest against the Saints tonight marks the final game of his three-game ban).

Suspended players are allowed to attend meetings and work out in their team’s facility, and Brown has been doing just that. Arians’ comments notwithstanding, it would have been surprising to see Tampa Bay cut Brown given how productive he has been while on the field — 29 catches for 418 yards and four TDs through five games in 2021 — though it was at least somewhat possible that the Bucs would refrain from activating him as soon as he was eligible. We previously heard that the club wanted to ensure that Brown is focused on football and adhering to the league’s rules prior to activation, and apparently Arians has been satisfied with Brown’s behavior over the last several weeks.

The seven-time Pro Bowler was also dealing with an ankle injury that had been keeping him on the sidelines even before the suspension, but Rapoport says that the rehab has gone well and that Brown is ready to play. His next opportunity to do so will be against the Panthers next Sunday.

Safety Mike Edwards, who was suspended three games for his own COVID-19 protocol violations, will also rejoin the team on Monday.

Latest On Bucs’ Antonio Brown

The Buccaneers are getting closer to the point where they will need to make a decision regarding wide receiver Antonio Brown. According to head coach Bruce Arians, however, it’s all still up in the air. 

As reported by ESPN’s Jenna Laine, Arians said, “I haven’t made that determination yet, but we’ll see how it goes” when asked about the seven-time Pro Bowler. Brown’s three-game suspension for producing a fake COVID-19 vaccination card will end after this week, but it remains to be seen if the Buccaneers will allow him to carry on with the team.

The ban — also given to safety Mike Edwards — is the latest in off-field issues surrounding Brown. His latest suspension was for eight games in 2020 for violating the league’ personal conduct policy. Laine adds that Arians informed Brown “there will be no second chances” when he joined the team last season.

In his absence, Tampa Bay has had no issues scoring, as they lead the league with 31.5 points per game. Still, the NFC South leaders would welcome back Brown’s production: 42 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns in just five games.

The Bucs host the Saints on Sunday night in Week 15.