Antonio Brown doesn’t have any beef with Tom Brady, contrary to what his former coach Bruce Arians says.
On HBO’s “Real Sports” Tuesday, Brown discussed his spectacular exit from the Buccaneers alongside his lawyer, Sean Burstyn. The malevolent wideout repeated his claim that Arians wanted him to play through a serious ankle injury, and dispelled the notion he was upset with his lack of targets against the Jets on Jan. 2.
“It's not worryin' about the ball. Tom Brady is my guy,” Brown said. “He's the reason I'm on Tampa Bay, so I know I'm gonna get the ball.”
In the days following Brown’s blowup, which featured him stripping off his pads and jersey and heading towards the locker room, Arians said the seven-time Pro Bowler was dissatisfied with his role in the offense. Brown recorded three catches for 26 yards in the first half of the game.
“Nah. I’m gonna get the ball, man. I’m Antonio Brown,” he told Bryant Gumble. “I’m a receiver. I get the ball. I had $1 million on the line that I had to reach, sir.”
At the time, Brown was within striking distance of three statistical benchmarks that would’ve netted him an extra $1 million: 50 catches, 800 yards, seven touchdowns. He left the Buccaneers with 42 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns.
Earlier this month, Brown expressed frustration in a wild podcast interview with the incentive-laden structure of his deal. “If Tom Brady is my boy why am I playing for an earnest salary?,” Brown said. “(Rob) Gronkowski is his boy, right? How much did he get paid? So why is AB on a prove-it deal? Who's better than me over there?”
Brown backtracked his statement on HBO, saying he’s not concerned about money. He says he was making a principled stand when he left his team two weeks before the playoffs.
“I’ve been around the NFL for 12 years. I’ve got plenty of money, a whole lot of money,” Brown said. “The principle of this situation here is as a football player, a coach understood that I was hurt, and in the midst of not being able to do what I need to do to work for him, he’s telling me to “get the f outta here. You’re done.”
It remains to be seen whether Brown’s NFL career is now done. He recently tweeted out a photo of himself in a Ravens jersey.
There’s no word on whether Lamar Jackson would house Brown like Brady, however.