The Buccaneers announced Thursday that Brown's (ankle) contract has been terminated, effective immediately. Head coach Bruce Arians already told the media following Sunday's 28-24 win over Jets that Brown would be waived after he left the sideline midway through the game and tossed his uniform into the stands, but the Buccaneers waited four days to make the transaction official while discussing the situation with the NFL. In a statement released in conjunction with the transaction, the Buccaneers addressed claims from Brown's attorney alleging that the wideout was upset after he was asked to re-enter Sunday's game despite suffering from "broken bone fragments, ligament torn from the bone and cartilage loss" in his left ankle. The statement indicates that Brown at no point during the game disclosed his injury to the team, and adds that the receiver has refused to meet Tampa Bay's subsequent requests this week to be evaluated by an outside orthopedic specialist. Brown's attorney relayed that the 33-year-old is scheduled to undergo surgery to address the ankle injury, though it's unclear if that's still the plan now that he's been terminated from the team.
Brown released a statement Wednesday via his attorney indicating that the wide receiver is set to undergo surgery on his left ankle in the near future, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Brown went into detail in the lead-up and aftermath of Sunday's incident with Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians in which the 33-year-old left the field without his jersey and shoulder pads. In particular, Brown felt he was unable to perform the football moves that he's accustomed to due to the ankle issue that's lingered for a good part of the campaign, and then was told to get off the sideline by Arians. As for the nature of Brown's injury, an MRI on Monday revealed "broken bone fragments stuck in [his left] ankle, the ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss." He acknowledged that his season is over, but he's "looking forward" to a return in 2022. The Buccaneers have yet to waive Brown but will do so soon. Once that transaction is made, he'll focus on rehab with the anticipation of hitting unrestricted free agency March 16.
Head coach Bruce Arians reiterated Wednesday that Brown is no longer considered part of the Buccaneers, saying the absence of a transaction is just a matter of the front office working on how to handle the situation officially, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports. Arians essentially shut the door on any sentiment that Brown might be able to rejoin the Bucs, though it's still possible other teams could be interested in signing the wideout for the playoffs once he's officially off Tampa Bay's roster.
Tampa Bay didn't officially waive Brown on Monday as expected, as the team's brass is holding ongoing discussions with the NFL about how to move ahead with the situation, Jenna Laine and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com report. Both player and team still appear set to part ways after head coach Bruce Arians said following Sunday's come-from-behind win over the Jets that Brown is "no longer a Buc," but it could take a few more days before the wideout is formally cut. Brown is set to end his time in Tampa Bay with 87 receptions for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns across 15 regular-season games, but his two-year stint with the team was marred to a lesser extent by injury and more so by a lengthy history of erratic behavior on and off the field. His latest misstep -- leaving the sideline and tossing his uniform into the stands in the middle of the Bucs' Week 17 win -- could make it difficult for Brown to find an opportunity elsewhere, even though he's remained productive in his age-33 season.
Coach Bruce Arians said after Sunday's 28-24 road win against the Jets that Brown "is no longer a Buccaneer," Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. After Brown's departure during the second half of Sunday's game, Arians' comment comes as no surprise. As TJ Rives of Buccaneers radio reported afterward, Brown was benched by Arians, and the wide receiver proceeded to take off his pads, toss a shirt into the stands and head to the locker room in the middle of the game. Brown's first full campaign in Tampa Bay included seven appearances and nine absences, with the final three DNPs the result of a suspension for misrepresenting his vaccination status. He'll soon be subject to waivers, likely by Monday at 4 p.m. ET, and it'll be surprising if another team comes calling considering Sunday's events.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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