It was fun while it lasted, but now it’s over. Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown quit on his team as he ripped off his jersey, waved to the crowd, and left Tampa’s 28-24 victory over the Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
The 33-year-old Brown, who signed with Buccaneers last season, has had his share of issues over the years, including being suspended three games this season for having a fake vaccination card, but he’s talented, and he helped Tampa Bay win a Super Bowl last season. However, on Sunday, he waved goodbye to the fans and maybe his NFL career.
After the Buccaneers'(12-4) comeback win over New York(4-12), head coach Bruce Arians, who cleared COVID protocols to coach Sunday, said AB’s time with the team is over.
“He is no longer a Buc,” Arians said. “That’s the end of the story. Let’s talk about the guys that went out there and won the game.”
Tampa Bay got off to a slow start Sunday and trailed for most of the game until Tom Brady, who, according to ESPN Stats & Info, tied Drew Brees for the most game-winning drives(53) of any quarterback since 2000, connected with wideout Cyril Grayson on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds left.
Back to Brown, Brady, who lobbied for Brown to be a Buccaneer, asked people to have compassion for the wide receiver.
“I think everybody should hopefully do what they can to help him in ways that he really needs it,” Brady said. “We all love him. We care about him deeply. We want to see him be at his best.”
Le’Veon Bell, who played with Brown in Pittsburgh, has nothing bad to say about his former teammate.
“He’s still one of my close friends,” Bell said. “Like you won’t hear me talking bad about AB at all. Obviously I understand things happen, but he’s one of my closest friends that I’ve been around. Close teammate, overall good person. Obviously, some bad decision-making sometimes but you know, he’s human. He’s not perfect.”
Brown’s refusal to play will cost him a lot of money. According to Spotrac, Brown needed eight catches to unlock a $333,333 bonus. He also needed 55 receiving yards to unlock another $333,333 bonus. He also needed just one receiving TD to unlock another $333,333 bonus.
No matter how you feel about Brown, this is sad. He clearly has some issues that he has to work through. The hope was that he could work through those issues while playing football, but it’s clear, he may need to step away from the game to get right.
For Buccaneers, their focus is the playoffs, as they hope to repeat.
Sadly, they will be doing it without Brown.
Watch below as Rob Gronkowski, Bell, and Brady react to Antonio Brown: