Listen to Dr. David Chao, an ex-NFL doctor with the formerly known San Diego Chargers for 17 years, break down game tape from the Week 17 Buccaneers vs. Jets game, and explain why he believes Antonio Brown’s ankle injury was definitely legitimate.
It was already known that Brown had been dealing with ankle issues since Week 6, but the injury came to the forefront again this past week when Brown opened up on Twitter about what led to his now-infamous walk-off at the Meadowlands last Sunday when Brown tore off his jersey and shoulder pads during the third quarter, and shockingly jogged off the field topless and into the locker room.
The instant reaction on social media was comical outrage at Brown’s expense, considering he’s been one of the most eccentrically dramatic players in league history, but the exact motive of Brown’s potentially career-ending decision wasn’t known at first.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said that Brown had refused to re-enter the game when asked directly twice, and the coaching staff effectively told him to ‘get out’, triggering Brown to storm off in scandalous fashion.
Considering Brown was closing in on three statistical incentives that would have netted him $1 million if he simply recorded just a few more catches and yards the next two games, it was odd to think Brown would just refuse to come back in.
On Monday, Brown’s representation would then tell NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport that the 4-time All-Pro wide receiver was actually injured, and only refused Arians commands because he wasn’t healthy enough to play. Arians wouldn’t disclose what the sideline dispute included with Brown, but said that Brown never mentioned an injury.
Brown called Arians' comments 'spin' and '100% inaccurate.'
On Tuesday, after Brown was spotted courtside at the Brooklyn Nets game the previous night, Brown released a statement on Twitter regarding the incident. Here was one paragraph detailing the injury:
“Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured. Despite the pain, I suited up, the staff injected me with what I now know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it my all for the team. I played until it was clear that I could not use my ankle to safely perform my playing responsibilities. On top of that, the pain was extreme. 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.” 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. I didn’t walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out. Being fired on the sideline for having a painful injury was bad enough. Then came their “spin.” Coach denied on national television that he knew about my ankle. That’s 100% inaccurate. Not only did he know I missed several games with the injury, he and I exchanged texts before the game where he clearly acknowledged my injury. He obviously knew I was on the injury list. And the GM acknowledged after the game in text messages to my camp that I did tell coach about my ankle pain on Sunday.”
Brown went on to say that he could not make ‘football’ plays on his bad ankle and said the media needed to stop bringing up the fact that he jogged off the field relatively fine, saying there’s a big difference from lightly running off the field, to juking NFL defenders and running routes during actual gameplay.
Check out the segment above as Dr. Chao breaks down some plays from the game, and explains why it’s apparent that Brown was physically limited in the plays he was a part of.