Antonio Brown is unemployed again following his well-documented exit from the Buccaneers’ Week 17 game against the Jets.
Brown’s collapse, in which he removed his pads and shirt before walking off the field following an argument with coach Bruce Arians, is the last episode for the five-time All-Pro wide receiver. Those incidents, which contributed in part to his leaving the Steelers, Raiders and Patriots, have led many to claim he has undiagnosed mental health issues, a notion he roundly refuted in an appearance on “I Am Athlete.” by Brandon Marshall.
For TMZ, Brown addressed his mental health on the show alongside Marshall, former NBA star Nick Young and former first-round NFL draft pick Jared Odrick. In his appearance, Brown took issue with people who questioned his sanity, saying he left the Bucs because Arians wanted him to play while injured.
“Why is it that every time something goes wrong, or how does someone react, ‘Oh, he’s crazy, there’s something wrong with his mental health,'” Brown said. “There’s nothing wrong with my mental health. Someone told me to get out of here. I’m not passive-aggressive.
“An NFL Super Bowl team coach told a guy on the team who was playing injured to ‘get the hell out of here.'”
This is not the first time Brown has dismissed notions of deteriorating mental health. In a Jan. 7 interview with the “Full Send” podcast, Brown said he wasn’t worried about having CTE as a result of repeated blows to the head.
Anthony Brown tells @fullsendpodcast he doesn’t want people to question his mental health and has “mental wealth”. This after a wandering CTE chat where Brown talked a bit about Vincent Jackson and Junior Seau and suggested to the Bucs that we’re not worried about him mentally.
—Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) January 7, 2022
After his departure from Tampa Bay, Brown released a statement through his attorney Sean Burstyn stating that Arians wanted him back in the game with a major ankle injury:
“I sat on the sideline and my coach came up to me, very upset, and yelled at me, ‘What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you?’ I told him, ‘It’s my ankle,'” Brown said in the statement. “But he knew about it. It was well documented and we had discussed it. Then he ordered me into the field.”
“I said, ‘Coach, I can’t.’ He didn’t ask for medical attention, but yelled at me, ‘You’re done!’ as he ran his finger down his throat. Coach was telling me if I didn’t play hurt, then I was done with the Bucs. I didn’t quit. I was cut.”
Arians and the Buccaneers have refuted Brown’s account of the incident, saying team medical personnel cleared him to play. Additionally, Arians claimed that Brown never spoke to his coach or doctor regarding his ankle, and that he himself “was never notified about it.”
Regardless, Brown reiterated his desire to still play in the NFL in 2022, but admitted during his “I Am Athlete” interview that it depends on whether a team would be willing to take a chance on him.
Brown is a seven-time Pro Bowler and a five-time All-Pro selection (four times as a first team). He twice led the league in receiving yards (2014, 2017) and receptions (2014, 2015) and led the league in receiving touchdowns in 2018. The 2010 NFL All-Decade Team member has 928 career receptions for 12,291 yards and 83 touchdowns
If Brown signs with another team in 2022, not including the Steelers, Raiders or Patriots, it would be his fifth team in as many seasons.