Antonio Brown has tarnished his legacy, and it appears that he is looking to stain his relationship with quarterback Tom Brady as well. Brown went after his former quarterback a day after he was formally released from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brown was cut loose after exiting the field during the Buccaneers' Week 17 win over the Jets. Brown has since accused Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians of trying to force him to play injured, which Arians has denied. And while Brady continued to offer his support following Sunday's game, Brown has changed his stance on his former teammate in the aftermath of the past several days.
"If Tom Brady's my boy, why am I not playing on an honest salary?" Brown said on the "Full Send Podcast" on Friday. "You my boy though, right? [Rob] Gronkowski his boy, right? How much he get paid? So why is AB on a prove it deal?"
Brown said that he had a superficial relationship with Brady that was based on what he could do on the field to help the Buccaneers win games. Brown's comments about Brady on Friday were in stark contract to what he said immediately following last February's win over the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Brady famously lobbied for the Buccaneers to sign Brown despite Brown's off-field issues that led to him serving an eight-game suspension to start the 2020 season.
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"Tom is a great guy," Brown said at the time, via Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He's been in my corner since Day 1. A big brother to me. Always believed in me. Took me under his wing. Helped me get the right perspective. ... It's been a tremendous honor working with Tom. He's a legend. He's a winner. He's a good leader. One of the best human beings I know. I can't speak enough what he's meant to me."
Brown went on to say that he was the best player, receiver-wise, on the Buccaneers, never mind the fact that the Buccaneers defeated the Packers in last year's NFC Championship Game with Brown inactive with an injury. The Buccaneers are also 12-4 this season despite Brown appearing in just seven games due to an injury and a three-game suspension after violating the NFL's COVID-19 policy.
Brown went unclaimed off of waivers on Friday following his release, making him free to sign with any NFL team. But given how things have unraveled between him and the Buccaneers, many doubt that another team will take a chance on signing a player who was once regarded as the best receiver in football.