The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ second-half comeback to defeat the New York Jets was one of the headlining games of a wild Sunday-afternoon slate of games in Week 17.
However, a nine-play, 93-yard game-winning drive inside two minutes with no timeouts to win the game 28-24 was overshadowed by the puzzling antics of veteran wide receiver Antonio Brown on the sidelines.
Down 14 points midway through the third quarter, Brown was seen having a meltdown on the Buccaneers’ sideline before taking off his pads, jersey, and shirt, throwing some paraphernalia into the MetLife Stadium stands, before gesticulating to the crowd while exiting through the tunnel into the locker room.
Antonio Brown has a meltdown at the hand of the #Jets and #BraxtonBerrios pic.twitter.com/RGhSYpyrOu
— Miller (@mmmmillah) January 2, 2022
Brown had caught three passes for 26 yards on Sunday before he was reportedly benched by head coach Bruce Arians. His teammates, Mike Evans, tried to calm him down on the sidelines before Brown began undressing.
Shortly after the game, Arians took any sort of drama out of the situation, telling the media that Brown “is no longer a Buc. That’s the story.”
It’s the latest disconcerting development in the 33-year-old’s career that swiftly derailed from a Hall-of-Fame trajectory.
A messy divorce from the Pittsburgh Steelers — which featured nine seasons, seven Pro Bowls, and seven 1,000-plus-yard seasons — led to a failed stint with the Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots before Tom Brady championed for him to join the Buccaneers.
Entering Sunday’s action, Brown had recorded 39 receptions for 519 yards and four touchdowns this season, suggesting that he could have regained his former All-Pro form. In 14-plus games with the Buccaneers, he reeled in 87 receptions for 1,028 yards and eight scores.
Now, it appears his NFL career is over after squandering yet another opportunity to consistently contribute in the pros.