• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Buccaneers waive Antonio Brown, deny WR's claim of injury 'cover-up'

·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Antonio Brown
    Antonio Brown
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Bruce Arians
    Bruce Arians
    American football player and coach

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finalized their separation from Antonio Brown.

Four days after a sideline confrontation with coach Bruce Arians led to the wide receiver leaving midway through the team's game against the New York Jets, the Buccaneers waived Brown on Thursday.

Arians said after the game that Brown was "no longer a Buc," but the four-time All-Pro remained on the roster in recent days. Arians maintained Wednesday that the move was forthcoming and merely a "management decision" at that point.

In his first public comments about the incident, Brown claimed in a statement Wednesday night that when he told Arians he could not re-enter the game due to an ankle injury, the coach told him he was cut.

Antonio Brown during Sunday's game against the New York Jets.
Antonio Brown during Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

Brown said that an MRI taken Monday in New York revealed he had bone fragments in his ankle.

Arians normally doesn't address reporters on Thursdays, but after the team's announcement, he provided details and the timeline of the incident.

"At no point in time during that game did he ever ask a trainer or a doctor about his ankle," Arians said Thursday. "That's the normal protocol. You go through protocols during games. I was never notified of it. That was the disturbing thing when we were looking for him to go back into the game."

OPINION: Antonio Brown's blow-up with Buccaneers had no victims, only willing participants

MORE: With explosive exit, Antonio Brown has finally worn out his welcome in NFL

MORE: Tom Brady says Antonio Brown needs our compassion. Is he right?

Arians added that Brown "was very upset at halftime about who was getting targeted" but that players stepped in to "got that calmed down." In the third quarter, Arians said the Buccaneers called for the personnel grouping that Brown had played in throughout the game.

"He refused to go in the game," Arians said. "That's when I looked back and saw him basically wave off the coach. I then went back and approached him about what was going on. 'I ain't playing. What's going on? I ain't getting the ball.' That's when I said: 'You're done. Get the F out of here.' And that's the end of it."

Brown had accused Arians of making a throat-slashing gesture when Arians told him to get off the field. Arians said Thursday he was merely gesturing to get him off the field.

"You can't force a player to play," Arians continued when asked about the pressures to get injured players on the field. "They have that choice. It's their body. He decided to play. He and Mike (Evans) were both on pitch counts. We were trying to manage that as best we could in the first half."

In a statement Thursday, the Buccaneers said the organizations has attempted "multiple times throughout this week, to schedule an evaluation by an outside orthopedic specialist, yet Antonio has not complied."

Arians had previously said on Sunday and Monday that he would not be disclosing details about the conversation he had with Brown on the sideline. He said he was "hurt" by the accusations Brown has made in recent days but continued to wish him the best.

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who has been one of Brown's biggest supporters, said Thursday that "there's a lot of personal, obviously, feelings" but that he didn't "think this is really the week to discuss it" because the team is preparing to face the Carolina Panthers in the regular-season finale Sunday.

The NFL Players Association said Thursday that it planned to investigate Brown's claims.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Buccaneers waive Antonio Brown, deny claim of injury 'cover-up'