Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said he had no idea what caused wide receiver Antonio Brown to make an abrupt exit during the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
“You’d have to ask him, brother. I don’t have a clue,” Arians said Monday.
NFL Network reported that Brown refused to re-enter Tampa Bay’s 28-24 win over New York because he felt he was not healthy enough to play. Brown had been nursing an ankle injury and did not practice on Thursday and Friday, although Arians said the team had no objection to how the wideout handled his rehabilitation.
“No. None whatsoever, he was cleared last week, played good. Cleared to play this week,” Arians said.
Arians did not discuss his conversation on the sideline with Brown, however he did share with reporters that he cares for the wideout.
“It was very hard,” Arians said. “I wish him well. If he needs help, I hope he gets some. It’s very hard. Because I do care about him.”
Rather than re-enter the game on Sunday, Brown, instead, removed his jersey and shoulder pads and eventually ran shirtless off the field.
MetLife Stadium security told ESPN that initially they thought Brown was a fan who had jumped on the field.
Arians said after the win that Brown is “no longer a Buc.” Brown, 33, did not fly home with the team.
Brown had just returned on Dec. 26, having been out since mid-October with the ankle injury and a three-game suspension for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status.
Brown had 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons with the Bucs. He had three catches for 26 yards before departing Sunday’s game.
The seven-time Pro Bowl selection took to Instagram after the game to thank the Buccaneers for the opportunity and also released a rap song.