Antonio Brown is once again unemployed following his well-documented exit from the Buccaneers' Week 17 game vs. the Jets.
Brown's meltdown — in which he removed his pads and undershirt before leaving the field following a discussion with coach Bruce Arians — is the latest episode from the five-time All-Pro receiver. Those incidents, which partly contributed to his moving on from the Steelers, Raiders and Patriots, have led many to claim he has undiagnosed mental health issues — a notion he adamantly refuted in an appearance on Brandon Marshall's "I Am Athlete" show.
Per TMZ, Brown addressed his mental health in the show alongside Marshall, former NBA star Nick Young and former first-round NFL draft pick Jared Odrick. In his appearance, Brown took exception to people who questioned his mental health, saying he left the Bucs because Arians wanted him to play while injured.
"Why every time something happens bad, or how someone reacts, 'Aw, he's crazy, there's something wrong with his mental health,'" Brown said. "There's nothing wrong with my mental health. Someone told me to get the f—k out of here. I'm not passive-aggressive.
"An NFL Super Bowl team coach told a guy on the team who's playing hurt 'get the f—k out of here.'"
This isn't the first time Brown has dismissed notions of deteriorating mental health. In a Jan. 7 interview with the "Full Send" podcast, Brown said he wasn't worried he had CTE as a result of repeated blows to the head.
Antonio Brown tells @fullsendpodcast he doesn’t want people questioning his mental health and has “mental wealth”. This after a wandering talk about CTE where Brown talked a bit about Vincent Jackson and Junior Seau and suggested the Bucs we’re not concerned about him mentally.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) January 7, 2022
Following his exit from Tampa Bay, Brown released a statement via his attorney Sean Burstyn claiming Arians wanted him to return to the game with a significant ankle injury:
"I took a seat on the sideline and my coach came up to me, very upset, and shouted, 'What's wrong with you? What's wrong with you?' I told him, 'It's my ankle,'" Brown said in the statement. "But he knew that. It was well-documented and we had discussed it. He then ordered me to get on the field.
"I said, 'Coach, I can't.' He didn't call for medical attention. Instead, he shouted at me, 'You're done!' while he ran his finger across his throat. Coach was telling me that if I didn't play hurt, then I was done with the Bucs. I didn't quit. I was cut."
Arians and the Buccaneers have refuted Brown's telling of events, saying he was cleared to play by the team's medical staff. Additionally, Arians claimed Brown never talked to his trainer or doctor in regard to his ankle, and that he himself "was never notified of it."
Regardless, Brown reiterated his desire to continue playing in the NFL in 2022, but admitted during his "I Am Athlete" interview that it depends on whether a team would be willing to take a chance on him.
Brown is a seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro selection (four times as a first-teamer). He has twice led the league in receiving yards (2014, '17) and receptions (2014, '15) and led the league in receiving touchdowns in 2018. The 2010s NFL All-Decade Team member has 928 career receptions for 12,291 yards and 83 touchdowns.
If Brown signs with another team in 2022 — not including the Steelers, Raiders or Patriots — it would be his fifth team in as many seasons.