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Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians: Antonio Brown did not mention injury before storming off

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians denied that former receiver Antonio Brown indicated that he could not play Sunday because of an ankle injury before he walked off the field shirtless during the game against the New York Jets.

"I don't know that he was (injured)," Arians said Monday. "It was pretty obvious what happened. He left the field and that was it. We had a conversation and he left the field."

NFL Network reported Monday that Arians and Tampa's offensive coaches told Brown to enter the game in the third quarter. Brown declined to do so, citing an ankle injury that was bothering him, according to the report. When Brown would not enter the game, Arians told Brown to leave the field, the report said.

As he did on Sunday, Arians again on Monday declined multiple times to reveal the content of the conversation he had with Brown on the sideline prior to Brown's leaving the field. When asked if there were any issues or moments during the game that may have prompted Brown to storm off, Arians said "none whatsoever" and said he hasn't had any contact with Brown since.

"You'd have to ask him, brother," Arians continued. "I don't have a clue."

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Antonio Brown leaves the field during the Buccaneers-Jets game.
Antonio Brown leaves the field during the Buccaneers-Jets game.

In a bizarre sequence, Brown left during the middle of the quarter after he removed his jersey, shoulder pads and undershirt, tossing the undershirt and his gloves into the crowd. He then trotted off, doing jumping jacks and flashing the peace sign as he jogged into the tunnel. Brown left the stadium as the game was still going on. He had three catches for 26 yards.

The Buccaneers would eventually go on to beat the Jets 28-24 on a game-winning touchdown drive led by Tom Brady.

Arians had told FOX Sports in an interview Sunday that Brown refused to go into the game, though Arians did not mention any injury issue in that interview

Brown had been dealing with a lingering ankle issue that kept him out of practice Thursday and Friday; he was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice. Brown carried a questionable designation heading into Sunday, and Arians said that doctors cleared him to play.

After the game, Arians said in his press conference that Brown "is no longer a Buc," though he also declined then to get into specifics about what prompted the incident.

On Monday, Arians said that after Brown left the field, neither Brown nor his representatives attempted to contact Arians or anyone from the Buccaneers front office.

The Buccaneers signed Brown, 33, last season. Brown was a key piece that helped Tampa Bay win Super Bowl 55. On Monday, Arians said he didn't have any regrets for bringing on Brown despite a history of multiple off-field incidents and criminal accusations, and only wished Brown well.

"It was very hard," Arians said of the decision to cut Brown. "I wish him well. If he does need help, I hope he gets some. But it's very hard. I do care about him."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bruce Arians: Antonio Brown didn't mention injury before storming off