Buccaneers waive Antonio Brown, respond to claim of injury ‘cover-up’

January 6, 2022
Antonio Brown during Sunday's game against the New York Jets.
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finalized their separation from Antonio Brown.

Four days after a sideline confrontation with coach Bruce Arians led to the wide receiver leaving midway through the team’s game against the New York Jets, the Buccaneers waived Brown on Thursday.

Arians said after the game that Brown was “no longer a Buc,” but the four-time All-Pro remained on the roster in recent days. Arians maintained Wednesday that the move was forthcoming and merely a “management decision” at that point.

In his first public comments about the incident, Brown claimed in a statement Wednesday night that when he told Arians he could not re-enter the game due to an ankle injury, the coach told him he was cut.

Brown said that an MRI taken Monday in New York revealed he had bone fragments in his ankle.

Arians said after the game and Monday that neither Brown nor anyone else had told him about an injury during his exchange with the receiver, though the coach did not provide any additional details. The team reiterated that stance in its statement Thursday.

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“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,” the team said. “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.”

The NFL Players Association said Thursday that it planned to investigate Brown’s claims.

Brown added he would be undergoing surgery but looked forward to playing again in the NFL next season.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.



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