Antonio Brown's theatrical strip-down exit from MetLife Stadium in Week 17 - and then his exit from the roster of the Tampa Bay Bucs - triggered what some would consider normal questions about the standout receiver's mental health.
Brown insists any evaluation along those lines is off-base and unfair.
“Why every time something happens bad, or how someone reacts, ‘Aw, he’s crazy, there’s something wrong with his mental health,’” Brown said during an appearance on the “I AM ATHLETE” show,. “There’s nothing wrong with my mental health.
"Someone told me to get the f–k out of here. I’m not passive-aggressive.”
The Buccaneers, the defending Super Bowl champs who are in the playoffs this weekend against the Los Angeles Rams, are claiming that Brown lost his cool because he wasn't getting the ball in that game against the Giants. Brown counters by claiming he was trying to play on an injured ankle and that the Bucs were wrong to try to force him to continue doing so.
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“Imagine the guys you came to battle with while you know your ankle is f—-d … You barely can run. And the guy that you think got your back … They knew about my situation before we even came. I communicated with the coaches, the trainers — everyone knows… And the guy tells you because you can’t go to war with them, ‘Get the f–k out of here,’” Brown said.
"At that point it’s like, 'F–k you, too, bro, professionally.”
The former All-Pro wide receiver, who released text messages with coach Bruce Arias that he believes proves his stance - has experienced a series of incidents involving both his behavior and his legal entanglements, and he has been released by the Bucs. But he insists that he’s not dealing with any mental health issues at this time - and of course that very issue is a sensitive one, not just for the Bucs but also for the Atlanta Falcons, who saw Calvin Ridley depart the team while citing his struggles in that area.
Brown did, however, concedes that he finds it a challenge to maintain his mental health as a football player while keeping his integrity to “get what he wants.''