The last time Antonio Brown was on an NFL field was in 2022 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. He left the stadium in the middle of the game, removing his kit and jersey on his way to the dramatic exit.
Brown blamed coach Bruce Arians for making him play while he was reportedly injured, but over the weekend it appeared there was a new catalyst for the meltdown: his former friend Tom Brady.
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The free agent wide receiver, who recently saw his sand league team get kicked out over a financial issue, appeared on Tyreek Hill’s «It Needed To Be Said» podcast and spoke about the moment.
«We’re about to play the Jets, and this week I’m really hurt. So I’m taking pictures of the coach like, ‘If we’re going to win the Super Bowl, I’m going to have to take these last two weeks.'» [of the regular season] at least get over it so I can do my best, we’re here to win the Super Bowl. So the coach said, ‘Hey man, we’re not resting.'»
Brown said Brady promised him goals during the game if he got over the pain. The seven-time Pro Bowler had five targets in the game and caught three passes for 26 yards.
«Tom called me like ‘Hey man this week, the Jets man, that sweet man will hit you with 10 to 12 [targets]'» Brown said. «So, it’s going to cheer me up so you know me, that’s all I need to hear, like you, you’re going to throw the ball at me.»
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Brown said he has no ill will toward Brady, but still seemed upset that the quarterback goaded him into playing while injured.
«Tom Brady hit me like ‘Hey, this is a great week,'» Brown explained. «So, I’m like fucked up. I know my s—fucked up, but if he’s going to fuck me like that, why not? So I got dressed up, suited up, and got there.»
Brown said that when he didn’t get the targets he expected, he bounced.
«You don’t want to throw the ball at me and you’re making me look crazy, so I said, ‘I’m crazy, f— all you motherfuckers, I’m out of line.’ here,» he said.
He said the Bucs «treated me like I was a little dog.»
Tampa Bay took a chance on Brown when he was facing a suspension for disruptive conduct in 2020. He became an integral part of the offense in Brady’s first season with the Bucs and caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl.
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He only played seven games in 2021 as he was on the COVID list and violated league policy for misrepresenting his coronavirus vaccine status. Tampa Bay would officially release him four days after he left the team.