Antonio Brown Thanks Bucs for Opportunity After Taking Off Uniform, Exiting vs. Jets

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 2, 2022

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 02:  Antonio Brown #81 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on against the New York Jets during the game at MetLife Stadium on January 02, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Antonio Brown made his first public comment after walking off the field during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 28-24 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.

"Big MAD (Making A Difference ) Thanks for the opportunity," he wrote on Instagram.

Ari Meirov @MySportsUpdate

Antonio Brown on Instagram: <a href="https://t.co/Wwer2WykUy">pic.twitter.com/Wwer2WykUy</a>

During the third quarter, Brown removed his shoulder pads and jersey and walked toward the tunnel. That was his last action as a member of the Buccaneers.


Antonio Brown ran off the field shirtless after showing some frustration on the sidelines.<a href="https://twitter.com/JenHale504?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JenHale504</a> <a href="https://t.co/Jet6ofnNm2">pic.twitter.com/Jet6ofnNm2</a>

Head coach Bruce Arians quickly made it clear the seven-time Pro Bowler was no longer a member of the team:

xz - Tampa Bay Buccaneers @Buccaneers

BA addresses the status of Antonio Brown: <a href="https://t.co/gC7D8Csin2">pic.twitter.com/gC7D8Csin2</a>

Arians told Fox Sports' Jay Glazer that Brown refused to reenter the game twice in the second half, at which point he told the receiver to "get out." The longtime NFL coach said he had "never seen anything like it in all my years."

Bucs star Tom Brady addressed the matter and said it's "obviously a difficult situation."

"We all love him and care about him deeply," he told reporters. "I think everyone should be compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things."

Beyond ending his tenure in Tampa Bay, the 33-year-old's actions could jeopardize his future in the NFL.

His relationship with the Pittsburgh Steelers deteriorated to the point he was traded to the Oakland Raiders in 2019. He didn't make a single appearance with the Raiders, who cut him entirely ahead of the regular season.

Brown quickly landed on his feet with the New England Patriots, but he played in just one game before they, too, released him. He was the subject of a sexual assault civil lawsuit at the time, which was eventually settled in April.

When he signed with the Buccaneers, Brown was finishing out an eight-game suspension for violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy tied to a sexual misconduct allegation and a burglary-with-battery no-contest plea. The team stuck with him this season as he received a three-game ban for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status.