Antonio Brown Clears Waivers After Buccaneers Release; Now a Free Agent

Adam WellsJanuary 7, 2022

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) walks on the field during an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Wide receiver Antonio Brown is now free to sign with any NFL team. 

Per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Brown is a free agent after clearing waivers following his release by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday. 

Brown's release came after he took off his jersey and threw his gloves into the stands at MetLife Stadium as he was walking to the locker room in the third quarter of Sunday's win over the New York Jets. 

In a statement released from his attorney, Sean Burstyn, Brown alleged the Buccaneers were engaged in covering up an injury he suffered and that an MRI revealed "broken bone fragments stuck in my ankle, the ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss, which are beyond painful."

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Statement from Antonio Brown via his attorney ⁦<a href="https://twitter.com/seanburstyn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@seanburstyn</a>⁩: <a href="https://t.co/pJ3VGFBjSy">pic.twitter.com/pJ3VGFBjSy</a>

Brown later tweeted a screenshot purportedly of a conversation between himself and Bucs head coach Bruce Arians leading up to the Jets game:

AB @AB84

Health over Wealth # Barbarian <a href="https://t.co/5pxjpZ6491">pic.twitter.com/5pxjpZ6491</a>

Arians told reporters that he wasn't aware of any issue with Brown's injury before kickoff Sunday, and the wide receiver was frustrated about his lack of targets at halftime. 

Speaking to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Bucs general manager Jason Licht said he denied a request from Brown and his agent about guaranteeing the $2 million in remaining incentives on Brown's deal last week. 

Licht also told Schefter that Brown didn't tell anyone on Tampa's medical staff about his ankle on Sunday before or during the game. 

Brown was in his second season with the Buccaneers prior to his release. The seven-time Pro Bowler joined the team in October 2020, appearing in 11 games, including the playoffs. 

The Bucs re-signed Brown to a one-year deal in April. He caught 42 passes for 545 yards and four touchdowns in seven games this season.