Bucs coach says Antonio Brown 'no longer a Buc' after on-field tantrum | Inquirer Sports
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Bucs coach says Antonio Brown ‘no longer a Buc’ after on-field tantrum

/ 03:55 PM January 03, 2022
Antonio Brown Buccaneers

Antonio Brown #81 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on against the New York Jets during the game at MetLife Stadium on January 02, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Antonio Brown’s days as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and possibly as an NFL player, are over following his unprecedented midgame exit from the field Sunday.

The controversial wide receiver removed his shoulder pads and jersey, ran across the end zone and headed to the team’s locker room midway through the third quarter of Sunday’s 28-24 win over the host New York Jets.

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“He is no longer a Buc,” coach Bruce Arians told reporters after the game. “Alright, that’s the end of the story. Let’s talk about the guys who went out there and won the game.”

The Buccaneers trailed 24-10 at the time and were driving on offense, but Brown was not among the players in the game. According to a Buccaneers’ sideline reporter, Arians had benched Brown, which set off the 12-year NFL veteran.

Fellow receiver Mike Evans tried to keep Brown from taking off his shoulder pads to no avail.

Brown had three receptions on five targets for 26 yards at the time he left, making a “peace out” gesture to the crowd while walking across an end zone while the teams were playing at the other end of the field.

The 33-year-old Brown, who has 42 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns in seven games this season, has a trail of off-the-field incidents, distractions and legal trouble dating to the start of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most recently, Brown was suspended three games by the NFL for falsifying a COVID-19 vaccine card.

Brown spent the first half of the 2020 season suspended for multiple violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He turned himself in to police in Florida in January 2020 due to charges of battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and criminal mischief.

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He was signed by the New England Patriots but released after one game in 2019 due to allegations of sexual misconduct and threatening text messages sent to his accuser. New England had picked up Brown after he had been signed by the Raiders but released due to multiple controversies before he played in a game.

Tom Brady played with Brown in New England and reportedly wanted Brown to join the Buccaneers last season.

“That’s obviously a difficult situation,” Brady said postgame. “I think we all want him to — I think everybody should hopefully do what they can to help in ways that he really needs it. We all love him, we care about him deeply. We want to see him be at his best, and unfortunately, it won’t be with our team.”

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