Brown decided not to exit subtly, taking his pads off on the sideline and giving some of his equipment to fans. The Buccaneers wide receiver then proceeded to wave his hands up in the end zone -- with his shirt off -- and exited the stadium soon after.
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians addressed the Brown situation after the game, saying "he is no longer a Buc." Arians asked to discuss the players that went out and won the game, 28-24, after falling behind the Jets by two touchdowns. Per Go Bucs radio, Brown was benched by head coach Bruce Arians prior to him voluntarily leaving the game.
Arians spoke to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer after the game as well, explaining he tried to get Brown to go into the game and Brown refused. Arians tried to get Brown to go in again and he refused, which is when Arians told Brown to leave. When asked if he saw Brown take his jersey off, Arians said he did and he 'never seen anything like it in all my years."
Brown had three catches for 26 yards in the game on five targets. There's no clear reason why he left the stadium in such an unconditional way. Per Fox Sports' Jen Hale, Mike Evans tried to convince Brown to keep on his pads but he was unable to as Brown decided to walk away from Tampa Bay.
Brown has 42 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns this season. He could have earned up to $1 million in contract incentives if he reached the following criteria (per Spotrac).
- 8 receptions
- 55 yards
- 1 TD
There was still money on the line for Brown, but that apparently doesn't matter to the four-time All-Pro and 2010s All-Decade selection -- especially after the benching. It appears Brown may have played his final snap in the NFL.