On Wednesday, Brown released a statement through his attorney, saying the Buccaneers knew he was dealing with an ankle injury — which the team previously has denied. Brown alleged that he was “fired on the sideline for having a painful injury” and says he “relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured.”
On Thursday, the Buccaneers admitted knowing the wide receiver had recently dealt with an ankle injury but disputed Brown’s claim of pressuring the wide receiver to play.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have terminated the contract of Antonio Brown, effective immediately,” a Thursday statement read.
“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.”
In a post-game interview Sunday, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians told reporters, “He is no longer a Buc, alright? That’s the end of the story.”
On Monday, Arians told reporters that Brown didn’t tell him he was injured. “We had a conversation and he left the field,” Arians said. When asked if the conversation with Brown on the sideline was at all regarding an ankle injury, Arians replied, “No.”
“I wish him well,” Arians said. “I hope if he needs help, get some … It’s very hard because I do care about him.”