Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson told Jarrett Bell of USA Today that Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown's decision to rip off his jersey and leave the field in the middle of the Bucs' 28-24 road win over the New York Jets on Jan. 2 will "follow him the rest of his life."
"What Antonio Brown did was a bad decision that will follow him the rest of his life," Dickerson said. "When he's my age, when he’s 61 years old, that will still follow him."
"Man, he's such a good player," Dickerson added. "He works hard. There's no doubt about his work ethic. But man, that other stuff, it's like wow."
Following a dispute on the sidelines, Brown ripped off his shoulder pads and helmet before exiting the MetLife Stadium field through a tunnel with the Bucs down 24-10 late in the third quarter.
He interacted with fans as he skipped through the end zone before exiting during live game action.
Four days later, the Bucs released Brown.
Brown and the Bucs have different sides of what went down and how, exactly, though it revolves around an ankle injury that has bothered the wideout for much of the year. According to Brown, the Bucs thought he was good enough to play, but he disagreed:
Ari Meirov @MySportsUpdate
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bucs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bucs</a> HC Bruce Arians fires back at Antonio Brown: "He was very upset at halftime about who was getting targeted."<br><br>Arians approached AB and was told, 'I ain't playing. I ain't getting the ball."<br><br>Arians then told him: “You’re done. Get the F out of here."<a href="https://t.co/bhP1kbECOo">pic.twitter.com/bhP1kbECOo</a>
Dickerson's take is a notable one, though, as he and the Los Angeles Rams did not end on good terms before the team traded him to the Indianapolis Colts in 1987.
Per Dickerson to Bell:
"I saw the Antonio Brown situation and I just felt like this: There were times when I hated the Rams. I didn't hate the team, I hated the organization, the way they were doing things. But I would never, ever leave the football field. I was always going to play hard. Look, you can have an issue with management, but you've got your teammates out there."
Dickerson says in his upcoming autobiography Watch My Smoke that then-Rams head coach John Robinson told him to play through a thigh injury in his final game with the team.
Dickerson empathized with Brown regarding the injury while acknowledging professional teams "don't care if you're hurt or not" before closing by saying he felt the wideout should not have done what he did:
"Let me tell you something. I know how it works: They want your ass out there to play. They don't care if you're hurt or not. They don't care. They really don't. They want you to perform and then they'll deal with the consequences later. If you can't play ever again, but you can help them win that game, that's fine. It's on you. But I just felt he shouldn't have done that."
Brown has played in the NFL for 12 seasons, leading the league in receptions and receiving yards twice apiece and making seven Pro Bowls.