Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Was Antonio Brown unable to play due to his ankle injury?

The Football Night in America crew reacts to Antonio Brown's bizarre behavior on Sunday against the New York Jets, which resulted in Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians declaring Brown is no longer on the team.

We know what happened after the crap hit the fan at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. We’re still not quite sure why or how it ended up with a shirtless Antonio Brown leaving the field.

Some think Brown was miffed that he was being kept from padding his stats in a way that allowed him to reach incentives based on catches, yards, and touchdowns. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media claims that Brown didn’t want to play because his ankle (which kept him from practicing on Thursday and Friday) was bothering him.

If accurate, that creates a much different vibe around the entire incident. It’s one thing for coach Bruce Arians to instruct Brown to re-enter the game and have Brown refuse for no reason. It’s quite another for Arians to give the order, for Brown to explain that his ankle is bothering him, and for Arians to persist.

Arians, who has been saying plenty about the interaction that resulted in the coach throwing Brown off the team, hasn’t said anything about Brown’s ankle. If Brown believed his ankle kept him from playing and Arians repeatedly ordered him into the game, Arians bears some blame, too.

And once Arians kicked Brown off the team, he had two choices. He could stand there and quietly accept that he was wearing a uniform he’d never wear again, or he could react to the news that he’d been fired.

He chose the latter. Obviously. If it’s true that he believed he couldn’t play due to his ankle and if he was told to play anyway and if he was told he was off the team when he refused, the choice suddenly doesn’t seem quite as bizarre as it did at the time it was implemented.