Was Antonio Brown unable to play due to his ankle injury?

NFL: JAN 02 Buccaneers at Jets
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We know what happened after the crap hit the fan at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. We’re still not quite sure why or how it ended up with a shirtless Antonio Brown leaving the field.

Some think Brown was miffed that he was being kept from padding his stats in a way that allowed him to reach incentives based on catches, yards, and touchdowns. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media claims that Brown didn’t want to play because his ankle (which kept him from practicing on Thursday and Friday) was bothering him.

If accurate, that creates a much different vibe around the entire incident. It’s one thing for coach Bruce Arians to instruct Brown to re-enter the game and have Brown refuse for no reason. It’s quite another for Arians to give the order, for Brown to explain that his ankle is bothering him, and for Arians to persist.

Arians, who has been saying plenty about the interaction that resulted in the coach throwing Brown off the team, hasn’t said anything about Brown’s ankle. If Brown believed his ankle kept him from playing and Arians repeatedly ordered him into the game, Arians bears some blame, too.

And once Arians kicked Brown off the team, he had two choices. He could stand there and quietly accept that he was wearing a uniform he’d never wear again, or he could react to the news that he’d been fired.

He chose the latter. Obviously. If it’s true that he believed he couldn’t play due to his ankle and if he was told to play anyway and if he was told he was off the team when he refused, the choice suddenly doesn’t seem quite as bizarre as it did at the time it was implemented.

82 responses to “Was Antonio Brown unable to play due to his ankle injury?

  1. Was he working with a trainer on the sidelines? Getting more tape or a massage? I don’t think so. He also didn’t seem to have a problem jogging off the field. Dude is crazy.

  2. Does it warrant THAT behavior ? Please. What about supporting your teammates ?

    Why is Evans pleading with him to stay on the sideline ?

  3. He looked fine doing jumping jacks in the end zone as he was dancing off of the field………so I am going to say his ankle might have been painful but fine to at least be on the field.

  4. Stop making excuses for this clown. His past is filled with more than enough incidents that you can stop giving him the benefit of the doubt. His ankle looked just fine as he was hopping off the field waving goodbye to the crowd smiling as if he just won something. He’s a child in a man’s body… a body that looked capable of getting in the game and playing like his coach told him to.

  5. His ankle seemed OK as he was trotting off the field and waving to fans. We all knew this was going to eventually happen. He did it to the Steelers and Raiders. He’s a nut job. I’m sure there is a medical diagnosis for what is wrong with him but when you act like this as a grown man after multiple chances I have no sympathy. Hopefully this is it for AB and no other teams takes gamble.

  6. His ankle looked pretty damn good as he’s skipping around the field on his way out shirtless!!!! He’s an absolute narcissist!!! Good riddance !!!!

  7. Now you just put the seed in his head. He’s going to sue the Buccaneers claiming he was injured. It’s gotta be someone else’s fault. Regardless, it was a poor decision for AB. In life, there are ups and downs. If he thinks the music business is going to be easier, then he ain’t seen nothin yet.

  8. Wonder what the NFLPA collective bargaining agreement says about whether a coach can order a player to play in the face of an injury or whether the player may be fired for refusing to play if injured?

    The plot thickens.

  9. But he was healthy enough to run around and jump up on the field and down and draw attention to himself before leaving…

    I get football is a contact sport and running and jumping is a minimum requirement but if he wasn’t seeking treatment on the ankle and he standing there on the sidelines, he should be ok to go. Seems more like he didn’t think it was worth him going back in a game his team was losing by 2 TDs against a 4 win team

  10. How many times has Brown lost his temper for no reason or some sort of perceived slight (Fe movers, hired help, Mayock, etc). His past behavior pattern is very clear. There is no evidence that this time is any different than in the past.

  11. So you mean there might be TWO headcases instead of one?

    It wouldn’t shock me in the least if Bruce Arrogant forced the issue.

    Remember, Bruce is the guy who basically backed Brown — and enabled some degree of craziness — on the fake vax card issue just a little while ago.

    His hands aren’t exactly clean here.

  12. If Brown’s ankle was an issue, it didn’t stop him from doing jumping jacks and jogging off the field. Players these days self-report issues, and I doubt Brown reported he was hurt, and the coaches tried to force him to play. Arians is known as a player’s coach, which is why the Steelers chose not to renew his contract. The dude was too close to Ben. Skip Bayless also reported that part of the words he heard from his insiders includes a word that he and Tom got into it because, unlike the Carolina game, where Brady was forcing him balls, he was not in the Jet’s game, and AB said to Tom, “I guess you are going back to boy Gronk now.” And he and Brady exchanged words briefly. The fact is, there is too much going on here, but AB didn’t need to act like five year old.

  13. Uh-oh here comes the Brown apologists. Do you think the normal response to being told to enter a gm and you are limping is to strip off your uniform & storm out of the stadium? Brown is a nutcase. He had YEARS to get his supposed “mental” issues straightened out.

  14. Judging by the way he ran routes yesterday and also the fact that he ran off the field on the bad ankle and did jumping jacks… I’m not so sure this isn’t just a smokescreen.

  15. I don’t think we should be giving AB the benefit of the doubt here. An adult player that runs into that issue says: “Coach, my ankle is really hurting, I really don’t want to tear a ligament, I don’t think I can play”. It’s a discussion. You don’t just refuse to go into the game. Might be seen as not a team player if the training staff say his ankle is fine, but ultimately you can’t kick a guy off a team for that. We all know AB didn’t handle it properly.

  16. If he was hurt he should have been talking with the medical staff, you know, as professional adult athletes do. Did he? Was he? If not, then there’s no reason the head coach should have thought the ankle was an issue. I’m no Arians fan; I think he’s a blowhard, but his mistake wasn’t cutting Brown yesterday, it was not cutting him after the fake vax card situation. You employ liars at your own peril.

  17. The reason I don’t believe this is that there is no video of a player or coach pleading with Arians. If he had insisted an injured player go in the game or leave the team, I would think someone would have words with him. I only saw Mike Evans pleading with Brown to not make a huge mistake

  18. actually it doesn’t create any “different vibe”.

    let’s not forget He was running and dancing on his ankle pretty good after he took his pads off.

    being a professional is simple – he blew it, and he is done.

  19. Mr Bare Chested certainly didn’t act like the way a professional should even after a spat with a coach or excuses that some in the media are making for him. Storming off the field in a rage quit is grounds enough for firing even if it is his 20th last chance

  20. This is just the type of distraction the Bucs need going into the playoffs…one and done this year.

  21. Don’t forget to throw in mental illness as a reason he couldn’t play, and to claim special damages in the way of public humiliation when you fired him. And why not throw in intentional infliction of emotional distress? Or, you could come to the realization, like the other 99% of observers have, and realize that Brown is not a victim and deserves nothing more than he has already received from the Bucs.

  22. wallcrasher3 says:
    January 3, 2022 at 11:38 am
    AB playing the victim card is laughable.
    ==============
    Like his vaccination card, his victim card is counterfeit too.

  23. Jerry Jones put Randall Cunningham on ice because he didn’t want to pay incentives. He said Randall was injured. Randall kept his mouth shut and dealt with being inactive on national tv. Either way injured or incentives related, I see issues that the PA will have to deal with on behalf of their former member.

  24. AB should absolutely get zero benefit of the doubt. Do you recall all the talking heads who somehow tried to blame Ben for AB’s departure from Pittsburgh? That was a joke, as AB’s antics in and out of football since then have made clear. Don’t fall for it again. I mean what is more likely: 1) A man who has coached in the NFL for decades insisted that an injured player go in the game or 2) a man who has blown up his last 3 jobs with his narcissism, just did it again?

  25. At the end of the day, for his own protection, let’s hope that his football career is over. It is obvious that the guy urgently needs help, could be CTE, could be mental health issues, but something appears to be seriously wrong with him and it’s not just the diva thing. Let’s hope that the AB story does not end badly. It sure seems that it has the potential to.

  26. Still doesn’t make sense to me. Why would a player with an incentive based contract not want to make more money. And why wasn’t that message delivered to the coach ahead of time. No coach would want to play an injured player if not 100%.

  27. Guys like Brown who make millions of dollars having fun while school teachers make about $60 grand a year don’t know when they have the world by the ass. I’m slowly making my way back to the college game. Guys loke Brown couldn’t make minimum wage doing anything else.

  28. ” If Brown believed his ankle kept him from playing and Arians repeatedly ordered him into the game, Arians bears some blame, too.” Not so much, unless Brown actually told Arians or a trainer that his ankle was hurting. You assume that Brown actually “communicated,” which is a huge leap of faith.

  29. I don’t recall him looking too gimpy when exiting the stadium. He looked like he could still run a dig route to me

  30. I am a lowly office worker. My dream is to one day quit my job in much the same fashion.

  31. The next AB has somewhere at some time already committed to the 2022 draft. As long as schools continue to enable this behavior, the league will continue to employ it as long as there are fans and audience attached.

  32. This guy always has to make a splash ,very calculated , he will be a Cowboy by weeks end book it !!!!

  33. Just to make something clear, and I’m not supporting or defending anyone here, but if BA told Brown he cut right then and there, they were no longer his teammates and he was no longer getting paid to be there. So all comments saying something to that extent, stop..

  34. The ankle isn’t the health issue here, the focus should be on the guy’s mental health.

  35. There are cameras and mics everywhere and I am sure his teammates saw and heard what was going on. The truth will come out and I don’t buy AB’s story.

  36. A professional would play. Obviously his ankle wasn’t bad enough to prevent him from putting on the charade he did. Instead of shutting up and getting the job done as best he could, he effectively ended his NFL career costing him millions.

    Genius.

    I wonder if they were playing in Green Bay last night if he would have walked around bare chested?

  37. Arians could have avoided this whole disturbing scene if he had cut Brown back during the whole fake vaccination card thing. The guy obviously needs help, not enablers. Next, Brown will be filing a lawsuit against the Bucs and Arians for trying to force him to play with a bad ankle. Mental anguish, emotional distress, etc. It would not surprise me.

  38. AB is sick. Pretty sure he has cte. It’s sad to watch him go downhill like this. That’s all I’m gonna say.

  39. No sympathy for this prima donna punk. He was able to run off the field just fine with that “bum ankle”. Too many people have catered to this drama queen. He needs to find professional help and find a second career.

  40. Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger remain the only coach/quarterback combination to keep Antonio Brown focused and productive on the field for multiple seasons.

  41. Let’s put it this way: this has only ever happened to Antonio Brown, and nobody was surprised when it happened. I’m sure he is throwing excuses around privately to seed the media with some doubt, but at the end of the day you’ve got to look at the source.

  42. I’m sure the rest of the league feels terrible that Arians, Brady, and the Bucs have to go through this lol. Loudmouth Arians deserves every minute of this.

  43. It doesn’t make any sense. He’s mad he won’t hit his benchmarks but he won’t play either. Whatever, thanks for being this year’s comic relief.

  44. I’m taking sides with him even though he is a flake of a guy, if you tell a coach, any coach, you cant go and they try and force you in, then you do have a beef. If the coach fires you on the spot, ya, why not show your displeasure and make a scene, nothing else to do.
    Arens could be in big trouble here. When its a medical issue and you make a decision its not a medical issue and fire someone, maybe you need a talking to.

  45. Even though I think AB is disaster as a person and at some point will always be a team liability, I’m still curious about exactly what happened on the sideline. I’ve read a couple of reports now saying that AB refused to go back in because of his ankle. Yet Arians said nothing about any such conversation.

    So which is it? Did AB complain about his ankle or not? If he did, why did Arians cut him and not refer him to the medical staff for evaluation? It seems more likely that AB didn’t say anything about his ankle or that he addressed BA in a disrespectful way, and BA blew his top. It shouldn’t be too hard to put together enough video and audio to figure this out.

    I’m also weirdly curious about what AB has been getting up to since making a spectacle of himself. Apparently he went back to the locker room long enough to get dressed and get his gear, then was picked up by a car service. The NY Post claims the driver took him to party in NYC. Crazy. I could say the guy needs help, but he obviously doesn’t agree.

  46. jlgmr777 says:
    January 3, 2022 at 12:29 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    lowlyfinfan88 says: January 3, 2022 at 11:32 am His ankle seemed OK as he was trotting off the field and waving to fans. We all knew this was going to eventually happen. He did it to the Steelers and Raiders. He’s a nut job. I’m sure there is a medical diagnosis for what is wrong with him but when you act like this as a grown man after multiple chances I have no sympathy. Hopefully this is it for AB and no other teams takes gamble. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    I agree! Any and everyone in the league and otherwise could see AB’s eventual meltdown coming a mile away. As far as TB’s empathy request for AB; how much empathy can you give a person who is determined to self destruct? It’s time for TB to realize that helping AB is beyond his reach!

  47. If, and that’s a big IF, it was his ankle and he refused to enter the ONLY reason he would refuse is if he knew he was going to go in as a decoy/wasnt going to get the ball.

  48. bradygirl12 says:
    January 3, 2022 at 12:19 pm
    Arians could have avoided this whole disturbing scene if he had cut Brown back during the whole fake vaccination card thing. The guy obviously needs help, not enablers. Next, Brown will be filing a lawsuit against the Bucs and Arians for trying to force him to play with a bad ankle. Mental anguish, emotional distress, etc. It would not surprise me.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Bucs lawyer: I present as evidence, AB jumping up and down in the end zone and running off of the field without so much as a limp.

  49. I think him doing jumping jacks on the way to the locker room was him giving the middle finger to Arians.

  50. At this point of the season every single player is playing with pain. Scratch that….playing “through” pain.

    It’s stunning that people will still apologize and defend this narcissist diva.

  51. “Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger remain the only coach/quarterback combination to keep Antonio Brown focused and productive on the field for multiple seasons.”

    Brown was fine until he took that massive hit to the head from Burfict. All of the troubles with AB started after that.

  52. Whatever mental condition Brown has, it’s obviously getting worse over time. Yesterday was proof of it. I do have compassion for him in that regard.

  53. gee wonder how many other of the diva wide receivers around the league were taking notes on how to make an rather memorable exit from your team n prob your career like good ole AB just did huh ??? … oh dear …. :S

  54. Considering Browns many episodes in the past the most likely explanation is that he wasn’t getting the catches/yards he wanted. He had a $1,000,000 bonus coming to him based on catches and yards that was within his reach. So, again, based on his past, what seems most likely?

  55. The saddest case of CTE I think we’ve ever seen play out during a career. It tends to blow up post career most of the time.

  56. Any way one cuts it, Brown’s behavior was in excusable. If he was truly injured, he could simply have gotten the trainers to look at it while remaining on the sidelines or if the trainers were conspiring with Arians to ignore the injury, Brown could have quietly walked into the locker room.

  57. The way he ran and skipped doing jumping jacks in the endzone blows this excuse out of the water.

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