Buccaneers officially release Antonio Brown


The Antonio Brown era is officially over in Tampa Bay.

Four days after he walked off the field during the Buccaneers' win over the New York Jets, the team released the 33-year-old wide receiver on Thursday.

Brown played 15 games in two seasons with the Bucs, totaling 87 receptions for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns. But that doesn't tell his whole story.

In prior stops with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots, Brown had his share of troubles off the field. He was benched by Pittsburgh before eventually getting traded to the Raiders (and protesting a trade to the Buffalo Bills). Brown never played a snap with the Raiders, though, after incidents about his helmet and altercations with general manager Mike Mayock.

That led Brown to the Patriots, where he played one game before being released due to various sexual misconduct allegations. He followed Tom Brady to Tampa Bay, where he joined the Bucs midway through the 2020 season after serving an eight-game suspension.

This year didn't go quite as smoothly as the Super Bowl-winning 2020 season. Brown battled injuries in the early part of the season, then was suspended three games for presenting the league with a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. Then, last Sunday, he left the field in the middle of a game after a disagreement with Bucs head coach Bruce Arians.

Brown released a length statement on Wednesday night, claiming that the organization covered up an ankle injury and cut him because he wouldn't play through it. He also revealed alleged text messages between him and Arians.

The Bucs refuted Brown's claims on Thursday, as Arians and general manager Jason Licht said he did not inform the team of his ankle injury before or during the Jets game.

This officially finishes the chapter of Brown's career in a Bucs uniform, but the story still feels far from over.

Tampa Bay will try to move past this saga in Week 18 with its game against the Carolina Panthers before beginning the playoffs, where the team looks for a second straight title. Brown, meanwhile, says he plans to fully recover from ankle surgery and return for next season.

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