Antonio Brown was, once again, half naked as he touched down in Los Angeles on Monday night following a week of partying in New York City and his bizarre, shirtless exit from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ January 2 game against the Jets.
Brown has a history of disciplinary issues with several teams in recent years, but the Bucs drew the line by releasing him on Thursday after his meltdown at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.
In the third quarter of that game, following an argument with head coach Bruce Arians and heated discussions with teammates, Brown, 33, bolted from the sidelines and removed his jersey before jogging off the field, possibly, for the last time as an NFL player.
‘It probably wasn’t necessary or professional,’ Brown admitted to TMZ on Monday, having headed to Los Angeles to hang out with Kanye West.
As teammates and coaches were left stunned by his latest on-field outburst, Brown chose to stay in the limelight by partying in New York City with rappers like Meek Mill and Fabolous over the last week.
The fallout has been nasty since Brown’s release with the receiver accusing the Bucs and Arians of giving him a ‘powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller’ ahead of Sunday’s win over the Jets.
In a statement issued via his lawyer on Wednesday, Brown claimed that he was forced to play despite team officials knowing he had a serious ankle injury.
Brown said that at one point the pain from the injury became too extreme, forcing him to sit on the sidelines. He claims that then triggered a confrontation with Arians, which saw the coach make a throat cutting gesture while mouthing ‘You’re done.’
The exit from the field happened shortly afterwards, Brown claims.
The divisive seven-time Pro bowler also questioned his friendship with quarterback Tom Brady during an interview with the Full Send Podcast.
‘To me, a friend is someone who’s got your back,’ Brown said. ‘Not everybody in sports is going to be your friend.
‘Tom Brady’s my friend, why? Because I’m a good football player. He needs me to play football. People have different meanings of what friendship is.’
Brady had previously been credited with reviving Brown’s career at two clubs: first, in New England, where the embattled NFL star played a single game in 2019 before getting released amid sexual assault allegations; and then in Tampa, where the pair won a Super Bowl last season.
Brown even lived with Brady in Tampa for a short time as they prepared for the 2020 season.
Brown continued, lamenting the one-year, make-good contract he signed with Tampa Bay before this season — a $3.1 million deal that reportedly included another $3 million in potential bonuses.
As Brown made it seem Friday, Brady should have done more to help him negotiate a better contract with more guarantees.
‘I’m out here getting prove-it contracts, you say you’re my friend?’ Brown asked. ‘I shouldn’t be playing on that type of deal when I came here and we won a Super Bowl.’
Brown was officially released on Thursday by Bucs general manager Jason Licht, who told ESPN that the team rejected a request from Brown’s agent to guarantee certain contract bonuses.
That agent, Ed Wasielewski, did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
It remains unclear if Brown’s abrupt departure was motivated over any displeasure with his contract.
Another mystery: Brown’s final earnings for the 2021 season.
By bolting off the sideline following his argument with Arians on Sunday, Brown may have cost himself nearly $1 million in bonuses, according to multiple reports, although it’s uncertain if he would have qualified for those incentives with only one game left to play.
Brown’s younger brother, former University of Pittsburgh running back Desmond Brown, called his older sibling ‘selfish’ for quitting on his teammates, and suggested that he may have been upset over a contract issue.
‘… he wanted to get those incentives and realized it wasn’t going to happen,’ Desmond told the Daily Caller.
Desmond also wondered if ‘something happened in the locker room’ at halftime to upset Brown.
Regardless, Desmond said his brother’s exit was ‘a real selfish move,’ adding that ‘there’s no honor in quitting.’
On Friday, Brown said he still wants to play in the NFL (‘it’s my passion’), but his future in the league remains in serious jeopardy after his past week.
As DailyMail.com revealed Thursday, Brown snuck lingerie blogger Ava Louise into his Jersey City hotel room on New Year’s Day, in defiance of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, to film a series of pornographic videos with the woman.
Louise, who shot to fame in 2020 after she filmed herself licking a toilet seat in a bid to catch COVID, told DailyMail.com she spent an hour with the wide receiver and snuck past security to join Brown for the sex session.
The 23-year-old said he had wanted her to spend the night with him, but she declined after discovering she would have to be smuggled out of his room ahead of his 7am meeting with Brady.
Louise also said Brown hinted at something big for Sunday’s game against the Jets.
‘He kept mumbling and then waking up and saying, ‘I’m going to give you tickets, I can’t wait for you to see what I do tomorrow,’ she told DailyMail.com.
Whether or not Brown was foreshadowing Sunday’s outburst remains uncertain, but the receiver did grab headlines against the Jets when he ended a sideline argument with Arians by ripping off his shirt and pads before throwing them into the stands and running off the field.
From there, as seen in a series of Instagram pictures, Brown got a ride from chauffeur to New York City, where he ultimately went to sit courtside at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, where the Nets were hosting the Memphis Grizzlies.
On Thursday, Arians told reporters that Brown was upset that he was not being targeted enough in the opening half of last Sunday’s game and that the situation evolved to a boiling point in the third quarter.
‘At no point and time during that game did he ever ask for the trainer or doctor about his ankle. That’s the normal protocol. … I was never notified of it,’ Arians said, discussing the circumstances of Brown’s bizarre exit in detail for the first time publicly.
‘He was very upset at halftime about who was getting targeted. We got that calmed down. Players took care of that,’ the coach added. ‘It started again on the sideline. We called the personnel group that he had played in the entire game. He refused to go in the game.’
Arians said when he became aware of the situation, he went to Brown to ask ‘what’s going on?’
The coach said Brown responded ‘I ain’t playing … I ain’t getting the ball.’
‘That’s when I said you’re done. Get out of here. That’s the end of it. We are working on Carolina,’ Arians said, referring to this week’s opponent. ‘That’s the end of the story. Hopefully it ends today.’