TAMPA, Fla – Fresh out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, wide receiver Antonio Brown had a lot to say on Friday, expressing his frustrations on everything from how the Buccaneers handled his ankle injury on Sunday to his relationship with Tom Brady being on the basis of a common interest in winning.
“To me, a friend is someone who supports you,” Brown said on the “Full Send Podcast” Friday. “Not everyone in sport will be your friend. Why is Tom Brady my friend? Because I’m a good soccer player. He needs me to play soccer. People have different meanings of what is friendship.”
Brown’s comments about Brady were a big departure from what he has said in the past, comparing the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback to a “big brother” and calling him a “role model” afterwards. Brady twice invited Brown to move in with him, first with the New England Patriots, then to Tampa Bay.
“I mean, you can’t really expect someone to be your friend in the football world,” Brown said in a separate interview Friday on “Tapped In Daily” on Clubhouse. “Football is football, but our company is winning. Tom Brady and I have something in common with winners. We love to win. We love to compete. We love to be the best. So we have that in common. It’s what makes me want to be around him, it’s what makes us play together, it’s what makes us freeze, which brings out greatness. “
Brady has vouched for Brown on several occasions amid criticism from the wide receiver, who has missed 11 games with a suspension over the past two seasons. Prior to signing with the Bucs in October 2020, Brown was suspended for eight games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after clearly pleading the burglary and assault charges and receiving two years probation for his role in a clash with the driver of a moving company – truck driver. Brown had also been the subject of an NFL investigation following a charge of sexual misconduct at his home by an artist who worked there in 2017.
“We all love him. We care deeply about him. We want him to be his best. Unfortunately, it won’t be with our team,” Brady said on Sunday. “I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic towards some very difficult things that are happening.”
On the “Full Send Podcast,” Brown first noted that it wasn’t “personal” with Brady and called him “one of my close friends”. However, he also suggested that Brady may have been responsible for not getting the contract he thought he deserved.
Brown has signed a one-year contract for this offseason worth up to $ 6.25 million. The incentive-laden deal included a guarantee of $ 3.1 million with a signing bonus of $ 2 million.
Brown called Brady “general manager,” a post Jason Licht held, and said the quarterback negotiated his contract. Licht told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Brown and his agent attempted to secure security for Brown’s remaining $ 2 million in incentives, but the request was denied.
“To say someone is my friend – I’m here to get some ‘prove it’ type contracts where I’m here, they made me try to make a million dollars to do some type of catch,” Brown said of Brady. “So to say you’re my friend, I shouldn’t be playing on those type of deals when I just came with you and won the Super Bowl.
“So I think people like to be around me and hang out with me, but they don’t even see my value in that regard. If you check the stats and the history, that’s what we get paid for. , what we’re dealing with., work and intangibles – I think I could deserve more than worrying about making money instead of worrying about winning another Super Bowl. “
Along with dealing with his ankle injury, Brown’s frustration also stems from what he called unfair punishment when an NFL investigation this season determined he and two other teammates – Mike Edwards and John Franklin III – used fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. He also criticized the way he was portrayed by the media, saying two weeks ago: “You guys this is drama.”
“How I was treated, how I continue to be treated, how I continue to be slandered, how I continue to be seen as a villain – I know America loves its villains – but I’m a great dude, “Brown said on Clubhouse. “I just won a Super Bowl, I’m an American hero, I’ve persevered through a lot of adversity.
“I took a COVID suspension with no evidence or information that was presented correctly and came back and got 100 yards on half an ankle – a deltoid, a torn ligament, bone fractures in my ankle. talks about the great things that I ‘I’ve been able to persevere and do. I’ve been kicked from teams, I’ve written badly, bad statements, I’ve created bad stories, and whatever. that has been said, I continue to persevere and get the job done. “
“I know America loves its villains, but I’m a great guy. I just won a Super Bowl, I’m an American hero, I persevered through so many adversities.”
How does Brown remember Sunday’s events at MetLife Stadium, where he took off his jersey, threw on his gloves and undershirt in the stands, ran into the end zone and jumping jacks, leaving the game in the third quarter when both teams were on the field playing?
“The coach said, ‘Get out of here.’ I’m like, ‘Yo, f — you guys too!’ I’m taking your logo off, I’m not wearing that s — anymore. I threw it away, “Brown said.” Now imagine you hear 60,000 people like, ‘Yeah, AB!’ My goddamn The adrenaline got so strong. I just got too sexy for my clothes but… I started giving the fans what they wanted. They want gloves, they want shirts. “
He added: “How can you treat a person like that when they can’t work?
Coach Bruce Arians, who had also vouched for Brown and kept him on the squad despite his three-game suspension, said there had been no conversations with the wide receiver about his ankle during the match. Arians said Brown never told him he was too injured to continue.
The two had texted about his ankle during the week, with Brown later posting screenshots of the conversation and Arians confirming those were genuine. Brown was on the injury report after missing practice Thursday and Friday of matchweek, but participated in the Saturday stoppage and was cleared to play on Sunday. But Brown said he was too injured to continue playing.
“It’s a matter of integrity. If you have a player, the players have rights. You have the right to say to the coach, ‘Coach, I can’t be in the game,'” said Brown. “If that made the coach irrational or emotional, I can’t do my job, then it’s not human.”
Brown has indicated he would like to continue playing football after having ankle surgery.
“Of course I plan to play football next season. See what I could have done with an injured ankle?” Brown said. “It’s been four years since I’ve been in this situation where I could be healthy and a good team that really supports me. These guys treated me the opposite of who I am and I have. was able to accept this role for a few years out of respect.
“But I can’t wait to clean my ankle, I can’t wait to relaunch my career. I’m excited for a reboot next year and look forward to the opportunities that the NFL – if that’s a possibility – – have for me. “
In the meantime, Brown has said he plans to coach a team in the Fan Controlled Football League (FCF) – a league that included Johnny Manziel last year and whose owners include Marshawn Lynch, Austin Ekeler and Tiki. and Ronde Barber.
A source confirmed to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert that the league is working on a deal to finalize Brown as a coach.