Antonio Brown just said goodbye to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With Tampa Bay's offense in the midst of a third-quarter drive against the New York Jets, the star wideout pulled off his helmet, jersey and pads, waved to the fans at MetLife Stadium and ran into the tunnel. Video showed teammate Mike Evans attempting to restrain Brown from removing his uniform.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians told the media after Tampa Bay's 28-24 comeback win that Brown was no longer with the team.
"He is no longer a Buc. That's the end of the story," Arians said.
Arians told FOX's Jay Glazer that Brown refused to enter the game, prompting Arians to tell the veteran wideout to leave.
"Never seen anything like it in all my years," Arians said of Brown taking off his jersey on the sideline, per Glazer.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning, per people close to Brown, that the receiver, in his mind, "did not feel like he was healthy enough to play." Bucs coaches asked him to go back into the game and Brown declined, which prompted the coaching staff to ask him to leave, per Rapoport.
Brown was questionable coming into Sunday's game with an ankle injury and did not practice Thursday or Friday. The receiver was cleared to play, Rapoport reported, but Brown's exit did not just stem from his most recent injury.
"There's been a boiling frustration inside the organization about Antonio Brown, his rehab, how much he was paying attention to that, his suspension, how honest he was with them," Rapoport reported on Good Morning Football. "Endless issues with Antonio Brown. We saw the end point yesterday with him taking his clothes off and running off the field. But that was certainly not where it started.
"It looked like this was the way the relationship was going to end anyway. It just ends in more histrionic fashion than maybe we imagined."
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady described it as a "difficult situation" after the game.
"We all want him to get help in ways that he needs it," Brady told reporters. "We all love him deeply. Unfortunately he won't be with our team."
Brady added: "People should be compassionate and empathetic with things that are happening."
Brown posted the following message to Twitter roughly an hour after the game ended:
The former Pro Bowler caught three passes for 26 yards versus the Jets, who led 24-10 at the time of his departure. Tampa Bay came back from the 14-point deficit to defeat New York and move to 12-4.
A week ago, Brown went on a long rant following his first game in two months, objecting to questions about Arians supporting his reinstatement from a three-game suspension for violating the joint NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols.
"It's a lot of drama," Brown said then. "It's a lot of drama you guys create, a lot of drama that people create that want stuff from me. But that's just a part of life, a part of being in the position. I can't control what people want from me, I can't control what people write about me, I can't control what people say about me. All I could do is get up every day and be the best person I can be, and when I get a chance to do my job, do my job the best way I could do it, and that's what we had today."