Antonio Brown Rumors: WR Unlikely to Join New Team in 'Short Term' After Bucs Exit

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 5, 2022

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

Wide receiver Antonio Brown reportedly isn't expected to join a new team anytime soon after his tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached a bizarre conclusion Sunday.

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano, sources have indicated that Brown is unlikely to be signed by another NFL team in the "short term," although his talent could eventually "seduce" a team into taking a chance on him.

Brown left the field during the Bucs' 28-24 win over the New York Jets on Sunday, ripping off his jersey and pads before throwing his undershirt and gloves into the stands and gesturing toward the fans on his way to the tunnel at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians declined to get into specifics regarding what led to Brown's dramatic exit, saying Sunday that AB was "no longer a Buc."

This isn't the first time Brown has split from a team in acrimonious circumstances.

In 2019, following a sixth consecutive season with 1,200-plus receiving yards, Brown requested a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had benched him for the final game of the 2018 season for skipping practices.

Brown never played for the Raiders, who released him following multiple disputes. The New England Patriots signed Brown to a one-year contract, but he only played one game for the team before he was released while facing troubling off-field allegations. 

Shortly after Brown signed with New England, his former personal trainer Britney Taylor accused him of sexually assaulting her three times, including one allegation Brown had raped her. Brown was also accused of sexual misconduct by an artist he had hired to paint a mural at his home, and a follow-up article by Robert Klemko for Sports Illustrated showed the woman had received intimidating texts from the phone number she had previously used to contact Brown after the publication of her original allegations.

New England released Brown following the alleged texts, and the NFL suspended him for eight games in the 2020 offseason after he was arrested for an alleged assault of a moving-truck driver. 

Brown signed with Tampa shortly before he was reinstated during the 2020 season and fit in nicely as the No. 3 receiver behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Brown established himself as a favorite target of quarterback Tom Brady and helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl.

The Buccaneers re-signed Brown to a one-year contract worth up to $6.25 million in April, and it was reported by Fowler and Graziano on Wednesday that he had had a "limited market" besides the Bucs.

The 33-year-old Brown, who was a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro in nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, had been productive this season, recording 42 receptions for 545 yards and four touchdowns in seven games.

The momentum Brown built early in the season was curtailed when he missed time because of COVID-19 and an ankle injury. He was also suspended three games by the NFL for previously possessing a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

Brown returned to action in Week 16 and played well, but he was listed as questionable going into Week 17 after injuring his ankle in practice.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported Tuesday that Brown was experiencing a great deal of pain, which led to an MRI and confirmation that he was dealing with a significant injury.

Stroud noted that the belief among those close to the Miami native was that he probably shouldn't have been active against the Jets.

Chris Torello of Spectrum Bay News 9 later reported that Arians said there was "no discussion" between him and Brown on the sidelines Sunday about an injury.