Antonio Brown effectively brought his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a close on Sunday. During the third quarter of the team's eventual victory over the New York Jets, Brown became visibly upset on the sideline and began to strip off his football gear, running from the field with his shirt off while saying goodbye to the fans.
According to TMZ, MetLife Stadium security in New Jersey thought Brown was a streaker taking to the field at first and tried to stop him. After realizing it was a player, they backed off and Brown exited by crossing the end zone.
Antonio Brown can't return to the team after this.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 2, 2022
Tom Brady fought for this guy to be able to revive his career and this is how he rewards him? pic.twitter.com/cgJCM4wQi9
Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians bluntly put a close to discussion on Brown and the team after the game, sternly telling reporters that Brown was "no longer a Buc" before shifting focus to the players still with the team that helped win the game.
Brown's final appearance with the team will now go down as the latest chapter in his hectic professional story, with stints in Pittsburgh, Oakland and elsewhere standing out for the drama that eventually ended his time with the team.
BA addresses the status of Antonio Brown: pic.twitter.com/gC7D8Csin2— xz – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 2, 2022
Seeing a player quit mid-game is also an odd sight, with many players choosing to quietly exit a game or keep their disgruntled feelings behind the doors of the locker room. Brown has always been fairly public with his emotions, so the outburst shouldn't be a surprise despite being a shock to see.
Brown's teammate Mike Evans attempted to stop him from walking off and calm him down, but was not successful. Before his exit, Brown collected three catches for 26 yards and had already established a bit of a dramatic season after missing several games and allegedly using a fake vaccination card
Tom Brady spoke on the incident after the game, acknowledging the situation and stressing empathy from those outside the team. "I think everybody should hopefully do what they can to help him in ways that he really needs it," Brady told reporters. "We all love him. We care about him deeply. We want to see him be at his best."