Saturday, January 29, 2022

Buccaneers working with NFL to determine Antonio Brown’s future after receiver’s Week 17 exit, per reports

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Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians didn’t mince words regarding Antonio Brown after Sunday’s win over the Jets, telling reporters the wide receiver “is no longer a Buc” after the former Pro Bowler walked off the field and left the stadium in the middle of the third quarter. A day later, however, and Tampa Bay has yet to officially release the troubled pass-catcher. That’s partially because the Buccaneers are working with the NFL to determine next steps, according to The Washington Post‘s Mark Maske.

The NFL isn’t currently considering discipline for Brown in the wake of his abrupt Sunday exit, in which he removed his helmet, pads and shirt and flashed the peace sign to the MetLife Stadium crowd on his way out. Instead, Maske reports, the Bucs are trying to determine “which designation” they’ll use on Brown “for player-personnel purposes.” That could mean imposing a team suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, outright waiving the wideout, or both.

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The NFL Players Association is also involved in the discussions between the Bucs and the NFL, per Maske. The Browns endured a similar situation earlier this season, with Cleveland reportedly considering keeping disgruntled receiver Odell Beckham Jr. inactive on its roster in the wake of controversy with quarterback Baker Mayfield, before ultimately releasing Beckham.

In any event, Brown has almost certainly played his last down for the Buccaneers, if not in the entire NFL. The former Steelers star has alleged that Arians and Bucs coaches demanded he re-enter Sunday’s game despite an aggravated ankle injury, NFL Media reported Monday, and that Arians subsequently told him to leave when he refused. Arians has denied the ankle injury played any part in Sunday’s split, however, and Brown has been the subject of countless other controversies in recent years — including a three-game suspension in December for reportedly misrepresenting his COVID vaccination status.

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