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Bruce Arians: Antonio Brown Never Said He Was Injured Before Leaving Field

Antonio Brown's exit from the field on Sunday marked the latest strange turn in the wide receiver's career, and there appear to be conflicting reports on what triggered Brown's departure at MetLife Stadium.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Brown told the Buccaneers his ankle wasn't healthy enough for him to return to the game in the third quarter. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians and the Tampa coaching staff reportedly believed Brown was healthy, and they sent him to the locker room after he refused to go onto the field, per Rapoport

Arians refuted Rapoport's report when asked about the incident Monday. Arians said Brown did not tell him he was injured, adding "[Brown] left the field and that was it."

Arians confirmed Brown's time with the Buccaneers was over following Sunday's incident. Tampa's coach wished Brown well on Monday, noting "I do care about him a bunch and I hope he's okay."

Brown tallied 1,002 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in two years with the Buccaneers, adding a touchdown reception in Super Bowl LV. He missed more than two months in 2021, sitting out due to both an ankle injury and a three-game suspension for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status.

Tampa enters Week 18 holding the No. 2 seed in the NFC at 12–4. They will host Carolina on Sunday, with kickoff slated for 1 p.m. ET. 

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