(AP) – Antonio Brown says he was forced to play injured by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and that an MRI on Monday revealed damage to his ankle.
While not specifying which ankle was hurt, Brown — through a statement released by his attorney Wednesday — said the MRI showed broken bone fragments, a ligament tear and cartilage loss “which are beyond painful. You can see the bone bulging from the outside.”
Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Monday that Brown did not claim he was injured when he refused to re-enter Sunday’s game at the Jets. Arians then told Brown to leave and the wide receiver did so by storming off the field, tossing some of his gear into the stands and waving to fans at MetLife Stadium.
Brown told a different story in his statement.
“Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured,” he said. “Despite the pain, I suited up, the staff injected me with what I now know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it my all for the team. I played until it was clear that I could not use my ankle to safely perform my playing responsibilities.
“On top of that, the pain was extreme. I took a seat on the sideline and my coach came up to me, very upset, and shouted, `What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you?’ I told him, `It’s my ankle.’ But he knew that. It was well documented and we had discussed it.
“He then ordered me to get on the field. I said, `Coach, I can’t.’ He didn’t call for medical attention. Instead, he shouted at me, `YOU’RE DONE!’ while he ran his finger across his throat. Coach was telling me that if I didn’t play hurt, then I was done with the Bucs.”