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Antonio Brown Says a 'Couple Teams' Have Called Him Since Buccaneers Release

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 22, 2022

AP Photo/Brian Westerholt

Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown suggested this week that some teams have expressed interest in signing him.

In an interview with Eric Skelton of Complex, Brown said a "couple teams called" him since his release from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this month.

The Bucs parted ways with Brown after he removed his uniform and left the field during a Week 17 win over the New York Jets.

Following his departure, Brown released a statement explaining what led to him leaving the sidelines during the Jets game:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Antonio Brown released a statement telling his side of the story in the Bucs saga.<br><br>He said Bruce Arians tried to make him play through an ankle injury.<a href="https://t.co/u7qizq3iyM">https://t.co/u7qizq3iyM</a> <a href="https://t.co/rLmUYhxATd">pic.twitter.com/rLmUYhxATd</a>

Brown said he was dealing with significant pain as a result of an ankle injury but was pressured into playing against the Jets by head coach Bruce Arians.

The 33-year-old veteran also said he was injected with a "powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using" prior to the game.

Brown added that he indicated to Arians that he could no longer play due to the pain, which led to Arians telling him to leave.

The Buccaneers released a statement of their own explaining the decision to cut ties with Brown:

"While Antonio did receive treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday's game, he was cleared to play by our medical team prior to the start of the game and at no point during the game did he indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play.

"We have attempted, multiple times throughout this week, to schedule an evaluation by an outside orthopedic specialist, yet Antonio has not complied. Maintaining the health and wellness of our players is of the utmost importance to our organization." 

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Jenna Laine reported Arians said Brown had complained about a lack of targets during the Jets game. Arians suggested that may have been the actual reason for Brown refusing to enter the game.

Schefter subsequently said during an appearance on ESPN SportsCenter that "people around the league" have "expressed doubt" that another team will sign Brown.

The one thing potentially working in Brown's favor is the fact that he is an elite wideout when he is on the field.

In nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown was a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro who had at least 100 receptions and 1,200 yards in six consecutive seasons.

Brown was also excellent in the seven games he appeared in for the Bucs this season, racking up 42 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns as the third receiver behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Off-field issues are always a concern with Brown, who was suspended for three games this season for submitting a fake vaccination card, but if a team believes he can help them from an on-field perspective, it remains possible that his NFL career could continue next season.

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