Antonio Brown, a Tampa Bay pirate recipient, issued a statement Wednesday addressingfrom the field on Sunday. Brown claims the Bucs tried to force him to play through a traumatic ankle injury and accused the organization of a “continuous cover-up”.
“Because of my commitment to the game, I succumbed to pressure directly from my coach to play injured,” Brown wrote in a lengthy statement obtained by CBS Sports. “Despite the pain, I got dressed, the staff injected me with what I now know to be a powerful and sometimes dangerous pain reliever the NFL had warned against, and gave everything I had for the team.”
Brown said he had stopped playing because he could no longer “perform the responsibilities of playing it safe”, and said the pain was “extreme”. Although he didn’t mention him by name, Brown claims coach Bruce Arians tried to force him back into the match despite knowing about the injury, and after he refused, the coach shouted “I’m done.”
Brown then accused Arians of lying after the match for not knowing about the ankle injury.
Brown wrote: “This is 100% inaccurate. Not only did he know I missed several matches due to injury, he and I exchanged texts days before the match where he clearly admitted my injury. He obviously knew I was on the injury list. General admitted Motors after the game in text messages to my camp that I reported my ankle pain to the coach on Sunday.”
Brown had previously missed five games this season due to an ankle injury.
And Brown left Sunday’s game against the New York Jets in the third quarter. The receiver took off his shoulder, shirt and undershirt and ran into the locker room topless while the match was still going on. “They kicked me outside like an animal and I refused to wear their brand on my body, so I took off my shirt,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
After the match, Arians said Brown was “no longer a professional player,” but the receiver is currently still on the team’s roster.
“As part of their ongoing cover-up, they are acting as if I wasn’t cut and are now demanding to see a doctor of their choice to examine my ankle,” Brown said in his statement.
He also claims that he had already sought medical attention and that the MRI showed “fractured bone fragments stuck to my ankle, a ligament tear from the bone, a loss of cartilage, which is not painful.” He said he’s already scheduled surgery to repair the damaged ankle at New York City Hospital for Special Surgery.
“Not realizing I had already scheduled surgery for HSS,” Brown wrote, “Box ordered me under penalty of disciplinary action and a few hours later came to a junior HSS doctor for another opinion. What a joke.” They’re playing as if I didn’t cut, ‘ordering’ a surprise attack to go to another doctor without reasonable notice, and laying this whole thing as grounds for my wounding because what they did on Sunday was illegal.”
According to CBS Sports, Arianes was asked on Monday if there were any issues with Browne’s ankle injury and replied, “Absolutely nothing. He was cleared of playing last week.” [and] game [well]. And [he was] Clear to play this week.”