LeSean McCoy understands why his friend Antonio Brown had an on-field outburst in Tampa Bay’s Week 17 win over the Jets.
The former Buccaneers running back started praising the Bucs coaching staff for being supportive of players reaching contract incentives in an appearance on the “I Am Athlete” podcast. The two-time Super Bowl champion pointed to offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich asking players about their incentives because he was “all about” helping players get their “paper.”
McCoy then talked about the 2020 season when star receiver Mike Evans needed 40 yards in the final regular season game with the team already having clinched a playoff berth. Evans finished the day with 46 receiving yards to get his payout — and Brown seemingly took notice.
“That was last year, so this year, AB’s like, ‘Oh I see that, so that’s what we’re doing? Now I’m up. I can’t get my eight catches and you’re throwing the ball to all these other people?… I’m hot. I’m hurt. I’m not going in… y’all ain’t getting me the ball. I ain’t hitting my targets. I’m hurt,’” McCoy said.
Brown needed a certain number of catches, yards, and touchdowns to get $333,333 for each.
“I do understand where AB was coming from because ‘y’all playing with me. I just gave you 10 catches for 101 yards last week, these dudes is hurt, now you need me… and I’m not getting the rock,’” McCoy said. “Those other dudes, I played with them, I respect all those dudes playing. Mike Evans is a dog, Chris Godwin — they’re dogs. The other backups, they’re good backups, but they ain’t Antonio Brown.”
McCoy said that the Buccaneers were planning on cutting Brown instead of letting him return from a suspension, the result of him submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to the league. However, injuries to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin changed things and it basically saved his job for the time being.
It worked out for game, but then the crazy scene unfolded at MetLife stadium. Brown took off his gloves and shirt and threw them in the crowd as he ran shirtless to locker room and didn’t return. He was officially released on Jan. 6th.
Brown later claimed he was “cut” because he refused to play through an injury he said requires surgery. Arians said Brown was “upset about who was getting targeted.” It was then revealed that Brown’s camp requested the remaining $2 million in incentives in his contract be turned into guaranteed money.
“AB, people think he’s crazy, he’s not crazy,” McCoy said. “AB’s smart. He may do some wild stuff, but he knows what’s going on.”
“I don’t respect how AB reacted to it because that’s not the right way… AB wasn’t professional about it. But I’ve been there where coach is trying to play with you and he still thinks he’s that superstar and he’s still nice, but not the superstar he used to be.”