Antonio Brown considers suing Buccaneers following his release

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) walks the field prior to the National Football League game between the New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 2, 2022 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

Rich Graessle | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

Antonio Brown is considering legal action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the team released him following his bizarre exit from a game against the New York Jets during a regular season game earlier this month.

Brown, who said he was too injured to play, was cut after he removed his jersey and equipment and walked off the field during the third quarter of the game. The Buccaneers released the wide receiver three days later, terminating his $3.1 million dollar contract. 

Brown and his attorney, Sean Burstyn, discussed the matter this week on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” They said they will request money for surgery on Brown’s injured ankle as well as the money from the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement that Brown feels is owed to him.

Burstyn claimed the team is trying to spin the incident into a mental health issue. For that reason, the lawyer said a defamation lawsuit against the Bucs is possible. 

During the interview, Brown claimed the coaching staff pushed him to play through an ankle injury. He and his attorney said the Bucs medical staff gave him Toradol, a short-term pain relief shot that would make it so Brown could not feel the damage to his ankle until he could not play.  

“In the midst of not being able to play hurt, I was told, get the hell out of here and ‘you’re done,’” Brown said of his interaction with head coach Bruce Arians before he left the field  

The Bucs organization has denied an of injury cover-up. Following Brown’s release on Jan. 6, Arians claimed that Brown was upset about not getting targeted by quarterback Tom Brady, and that medical personnel tried on several occasions to examine the receiver’s injury. 

When asked about Brown’s interview with HBO, the Bucs said they would refrain from further comment beyond the statements they issued in the days after the Jets game. 

During the interview, Brown said he was not worried about getting the ball from Brady.

“Tom Brady is my guy. He’s the reason I’m on Tampa Bay, so I know I’m going to get the ball,” he said.

Brown, a four-time All-Pro wide receiver, has a history of controversy. During his 12 years in the NFL, he has left multiple teams on bad terms, including the Raiders, for whom he didn’t play even a regular season game. He was accused of sexual misconduct by a former trainer in 2019. He denied the claim and settled it in 2021. 

He also submitted a fake Covid-19 vaccination card to the Bucs organization, earning a three-game suspension last year. 

The Buccaneers finished the season 13-4 and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs before being eliminated by the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl champion and holder of several NFL passing records, is considering whether to retire.

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