Bucs Fire Antonio Brown After Shirtless Midgame Walkout

Bucs Fire Antonio Brown After Shirtless Midgame Walkout Bucs Fire Antonio Brown After Shirtless Midgame Walkout Antonio Brown #81 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up prior to the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on January 02, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Elsa/Getty)

Reuters Thursday, 06 January 2022 01:43 PM

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Antonio Brown on Thursday afternoon, hours after the wideout shared receipts and even his bank account information that included text strings with head coach Bruce Arians and Tom Brady's personal fitness and nutrition guru.

The move comes four days after Arians declared Brown was "no longer a Buc" following the latter's decision to make an abrupt exit during the third quarter of Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have terminated the contract of Antonio Brown, effective immediately. While Antonio did receive treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday's game, he was cleared to play by our medical team prior to the start of the game and at no point during the game did he indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play.

"We have attempted, multiple times throughout this week, to schedule an evaluation by an outside orthopedic specialist, yet Antonio has not complied. Maintaining the health and wellness of our players is of the utmost importance to our organization."

Only hours after releasing a cannonball statement accusing the Buccaneers of forcing him to play hurt and covering up facts related to his injury, Brown was at the keyboard with screen grabs of private conversations with Arians and Brady sidekick and business partner Alex Guerrero.

Brown released a text message string he purports happened last Friday with Arians — two days before the wide receiver removed his jersey and shoulder pads and fled the sideline during a game with the New York Jets.

In a separate screenshot, Brown shared an exchange with Guerrero that included detailed banking information, including routing and account numbers, in a pointed criticism of Brady's TB12 business ally.

The text string with Arians includes this exchange:

"This is BA. Make sure you are ready to go tomorrow. We ARE NOT resting for the playoffs.

"Call me."

Brown replied with a knees-to-feet photo of his right ankle being worked on and said, "I'm all in coach really cant get to full speed I wanna win wanna be there if I wake up tomorrow feel better I'll be ready kinda rolled it outside on 2pt play I want what's best for team lmk when you free I'll call u."

Arians, according to the screenshot Brown shared, replied, "Come see me in the morning. We'll talk it out. Definitely want you with us in case you're ready."

Brown, based on his screenshot, loved the Arians reply.

Brown shared an image showing what he identified as a text string with Guerrero regarding the "half" of a $100,000 payment he wanted back. The messages were dated Dec. 24. In the Twitter post accompanying the text message history, he wrote "@TomBrady guy @ag_tb12 charging me 100k never doing the work on me! how u even work wit people like this! This what I was dealing wit.

"Then imagine your QB trainer charging you 100K then doing no work must be was a part of these guys plans all along."

That message was deleted from Brown's Twitter feed along with this text exchange from Christmas Eve:

"Hey ag if we not going to work any more that's fine Lmk about the 100K I paid you only fair get back half my money lmk how to proceed."

A response labeled with the name Alex Guerrero came around two hours later.

"Good morning AB. I appreciate you reaching out to me. I completely understand you want to go in a different direction. Thank you for the opportunity to work together. I hope for your continued success on and off the field. Please let me know where you want to send the balance. Big hugs my friend."

Brown replied with detailed banking account information with full routing and account numbers shared via Twitter. He later deleted the post, but it had thousands of views before banking hours Thursday.

In his Wednesday statement released through his attorney, Brown said he was coaxed into playing hurt and took a painkiller the NFLPA discourages using. He said the ankle has painful bone fragments and a ligament torn from the bone, which will require surgery. He did not provide medical support or imaging to back that part of the story.

Brown, 33, was in his second season with the Buccaneers and won the Super Bowl with Tampa Bay last season.

Brown returned to Twitter later Thursday morning to clarify he felt supported by teammates, including Brady.

"Don't get it twisted. My brothers have been good to me. From Tom to practice squad, we were a top-level unit. They have been good to me and knew nothing about my talks with coach last week. The team mishandled this situation. They let me down and, more importantly, my teammates."

Prior to Sunday's game in New York, Brown had played just once in two months — the week prior at Carolina — and was targeted 15 times by Brady as the Buccaneers deal with injuries and depth concerns at the position.

His future with the team was in serious doubt in December based on "inaccurate representation of his vaccination status" and reports he purchased a fake vaccination card.

But Arians decided to welcome Brown back while he continued rehab for an ankle injury that was listed on the injury report.

Arians said on Wednesday he agreed with a reporter who asked if it was a matter of "how and not when" the Buccaneers parted with Brown.