The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were unable to repeat as Super Bowl champions, as they fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round. Not helping matters was losing a dynamic receiver in Antonio Brown, and Chris Godwin was out for the year with a torn ACL.
It was one of the highlights or lowlights of the 2021 NFL season, as Brown took off his pads and jersey midgame against the New York Jets in Week 17, and ran off the field while pumping up the opposing fans.
Recently, Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans revisited that wild Sunday with Yahoo Sports, and he said Brown was wanting the ball before his dramatic exit.
“I mean, what I remember is we were trying to get him to come back in the game. You know, he was saying he wanted the rock, and I mean, rightfully so. We should have gotten the rock. I mean, he’s an unbelievable player. But like, yo, come in the game, AB. So we’re asking him to come in the game. We’re on offense. And I’m like, AB, big bro, come on. Let’s go in the game. They’re calling for us, because me and him are both on the pitch count, because we’re both coming back from injury. And so I’m trying to get him to come in the game. And he doesn’t come.
So I go back on the drive. I do my two plays. I come out. And then I see BA still trying to get him to come in the game. And they had like a falling out somehow. And AB goes off. And he’s about to take his pads off. And I’m trying to grab his pads and tell him like, yo, big bro– because me and him have a relationship.
And I don’t want him to go out like this. Like we obviously we need him, so I’m telling him, big bro, we need you. The season’s almost over. If you don’t want to be here the next year, you can leave, you know what I’m saying? Like obviously I just didn’t want him to go out like that. So I’m telling him, please don’t go out like this. And they’re calling me to come back in the game. So I just left him alone like, all right.”
Evans called what Brown did as he left the stadium “unfortunate.”
“And then second, third down comes. We score in that drive. But then on TV timeout, we see that he was doing all that stuff, taking his pads off, doing jumping jacks and [MUTED]. I mean, it was unfortunate. I mean, I didn’t know that it was going to go down like that. I mean, I thought you know we was going to have a chance to go to the playoffs and probably repeat. And he would have definitely helped us.
Evans bringing up Brown wanting the “rock” is interesting, since it’s something head coach Bruce Arians also told reporters when Brown was released.
Brown claimed it was because he was injured.
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