Tampa Bay WR Antonio Brown ripped off his jersey, equipment before leaving the field midgame; coach says he's off the team

Antonio Brown was kicked off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a bizarre, shirtless exit from the field.


Antonio Brown was kicked off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a bizarre, shirtless exit from the field before Tom Brady coolly led the Bucs on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes for a 28-24 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians said after the game that Brown was off the team.


"He is no longer a Buc," Arians said.

Related video above: NFL’s Antonio Brown suspended for misrepresenting vax status

Brown's mid-game meltdown came late in the third quarter with Tampa Bay trailing 24-10. He appeared animated while talking to teammate Mike Evans when he stripped off his pads, jersey, gloves and T-shirt — tossing the gloves and T-shirt into the stands — and then walked bare-chested down the sideline and into the end zone. He then waved to fans as jogged through the end zone and into the tunnel at MetLife Stadium.

It appeared to be a show of frustration by Brown, who had three catches for 26 yards.

Brown was suspended last month for three games for violating the league's COVID-19 protocols. He also has a history of personal conduct issues and bizarre behavior.

Brady connected with Cameron Brate for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 4 shortly after Brown's exit, and the QB finished the Bucs' rally with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Cyril Grayson with 15 seconds left.

The Bucs stuffed Jets QB on fourth-and-2 at the 7 for no gain with New York trying to seal the victory, giving Brady and the Bucs the ball back with 2:12 left.

It was more than enough time.

Brady marched the Buccaneers (12-4) down the field on nine plays, zipping a pass to Grayson — who was elevated from the practice squad — for the go-ahead score. It was Brady's third TD pass of the game and 40th of the season, joining him with Drew Brees as the only players to throw for 40 touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

He finished 34 of 50 for 410 yards, the three TDs and an interception for Tampa Bay, which had Arians back after he tested positive for the coronavirus earlier in the week.

Le'Veon Bell ran in the 2-point conversion against his former team, forcing New York to need a touchdown. But the Jets (4-12) ran out of time.

The game featured the largest age gap between starting quarterbacks since at least 1950, with the 22-year-old Wilson facing the 44-year-old Brady.

Last month, Brown and two other NFL players were suspended for three games by the league for violating COVID-19 protocols.

In November, Brown was accused of obtaining a fake COVID-19 vaccination card in order to circumvent NFL protocols, according to a report published by the Tampa Bay Times.

The allegation came from Brown's former live-in chef, Steven Ruiz, the newspaper said. Ruiz said he came forward with the accusation after Brown failed to pay $10,000 owed to him.

Ruiz said he was asked by Brown's girlfriend to get the fake card in July.

Ruiz was unable to acquire a vaccine card for Brown, but claimed the player later showed him fake cards Brown had obtained for himself and his girlfriend, the Times reported.

After the story broke, the Buccaneers released a statement saying they had vaccination cards from all players and that "all vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed."

Brown's attorney, Sean Burstyn, told ESPN at the time that Brown was vaccinated.

NFL rules do not require players to be vaccinated, but those who are unvaccinated are subject to additional precautions including daily testing, masking and eating separately from teammates during meals.

Brown's career has been marked by off-field incidents, and he served an eight-game suspension last season before joining Tampa Bay. That punishment came after he made a no-contest plea to burglary and battery charges last year. Brown also was accused of sending threatening text messages by a woman who said he also made sexual advances toward her.

Brown, 33, has played parts of 12 seasons in the NFL. He was an All-Pro in 2014, '15, '16 and '17 with Pittsburgh, and also has been with the Raiders, Patriots and Bucs, though he never played in a game for the Raiders.