Antonio Brown calls Tom Brady his 'friend,' criticizes Bruce Arians following Bucs release

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Antonio Brown spoke about the fracture in his relationship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a podcast interview released Friday.

Brown talked about his friendship with Tom Brady and had choice words for coach Bruce Arians in the aftermath of the wide receiver walking out on the team midgame on Sunday afternoon. Brown made the remarks in an interview on the “Full Send Podcast.”

Antonio Brown (81) and Tom Brady (12) of the Buccaneers hug one another during the Tennessee Titans-Tampa Bay Buccaneers joint training camp on Aug. 19, 2021, at the AdventHealth Training Center at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida.
(Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown wipes his face as he leaves the field after throwing his equipment into the stands while his team is on offense during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 
(Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media via AP)

“He was very upset at halftime about who was getting targeted. Got that calmed down – players took care of that. It started again on the sideline,” Arians explained. “We had called for the personnel group that he had played [with] the entire game, he refused to go in the game. That’s when I look back and saw him basically wave off the coach. I then went back and approached him about what was going on. [He said], ‘I ain’t playing.’ [I said], ‘What’s going on?’ [and he said], ‘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 released a lengthy statement late Wednesday explaining that he “didn’t quit. I was cut.” He said the coaching staff was aware of his injury and he posted a text exchange with Arians talking about it.

“I know we were losing to the jets and that was frustrating for all of us. But I could not make football plays on that ankle,” Brown’s statement read. “Yes, I walked off the field. But there’s a major difference between launching from the line and taking hits, compared to jogging off the field with a rush of emotions going through your mind.” 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) celebrate a touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Washington Football Team, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Landover, Maryland.
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Brown took off his uniform before throwing his gloves and shirt in the stands at MetLife Stadium on his way to the tunnel. On his way out, he jogged off the field and jumped up and down, motioning toward the crowd before finally exiting.

The veteran wide receiver said he underwent an MRI on Monday that showed “broken bone fragments stuck in my ankle, the ligament torn from the bone, and cartilage loss.” 

Arians finished his comments Thursday saying the team is focused on Week 18 and beyond. 

“We’re working on Carolina, that’s the end of the story, and hopefully it ends today.”

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.

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