- Antonio Brown is no longer on the Bucs after storming off the field mid-game on Sunday.
- Alluding to “very difficult things,” Tom Brady said Brown needed “help” and deserves compassion.
- Brown had been signed by the Bucs largely because Brady supported the troubled receiver.
Tom Brady called Antonio Brown’s mid-game exit during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ win over the New York Jets on Sunday a “difficult situation.”
Brown, for reasons that are still unclear, took off his jersey, pads, and shirt mid-game and stormed off the field, giving fans at MetLife Stadium the peace sign as he walked off.
Teammates had been trying to calm Brown down on the sideline to no avail before he left the field.
After the game, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Brown was no longer part of the team, thus ending an up-and-down tenure for the talented wide receiver over the last two seasons.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Brady said Brown deserves compassion and that he hopes Brown gets help.
“I think everybody should … hopefully do what they can to help him in ways that he really needs it,” Brady said.
“We all love him. We care about him deeply. We wanna see him be his best, and unfortunately, he won’t be with our team … I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic towards some very difficult things that are happening.”
Brown was in his second game back with the Bucs after serving a three-game suspension for misrepresenting his vaccination status. Brown’s former personal chef had accused Brown of using a fake vaccine card early in the season, which the NFL investigated before suspending him.
Brown has had a rocky few years, beginning with his trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in 2019. Brown was eventually cut by the Raiders after several incidents, including a bizarre holdout over his helmet type and an altercation with GM Mike Mayock. He landed on the New England Patriots alongside Brady but was later cut after being accused of sexual assault by his former trainer. Brown has denied the accusations.
Brown was out of football for several months before landing on the Buccaneers in 2020, in large part because Brady vouched for him. It had been reported that Brady was hands-on in making sure Brown behaved while with the Buccaneers.
Arians told reporters that Brown wasn’t going to receive any second chances with the Bucs if he misbehaved. However, after his suspension for misrepresenting his vaccination status, Arians admitted the Bucs needed to keep Brown following a season-ending injury to top wide receiver Chris Godwin.
Sunday’s mid-game meltdown, however, seemed to be the final straw for the Bucs, potentially ending Brown’s career.