Antonio Brown Says He's Always Done 'What's Best for Me' While Addressing Buccaneers Split

"I feel like, man, everything I did, I did it because my heart believed that was what I needed to do," said the Florida team's former wide receiver

Antonio Brown
Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

Antonio Brown is opening up about the dramatic events that led to him being cut from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this month.

Speaking to CBS Mornings in an interview that aired Thursday, the 33-year-old wide receiver addressed the situation surrounding his departure from the Buccaneers, and other controversies throughout his career.

"I feel like, man, everything I did, I did it because my heart believed that was what I needed to do. And in life, sometimes you got to listen to your heart because that's the only way I could go to sleep at night," said Brown in the conversation with Nate Burleson of being involved in headline-making incidents.

Brown, who told Burleson that "life is a fight" when asked how he's doing, later added, "I always did what's best for me. I mean, that's what it is."

Earlier this month, Brown's contract was Buccaneers contract was terminated after he ​made a scene in the middle of the franchise's week 17 win over the New York Jets on Jan. 2. Brown was seen ripping off the top half of his uniform, before sprinting onto the field in the middle of the game and flashing a "peace out" sign to the crowd as he exited through the tunnel.

Brown later alleged he could not play in the game after suffering an ankle injury and that coach Bruce Arians ignored those concerns. He issued a statement through his attorney Sean Burstyn, claiming that he "relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured."

"Despite the pain, I suited up, the staff injected me with what I know now was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it my all for my team," Brown said in part in the Jan. 5 statement obtained by PEOPLE. Continued Brown, "I played until I could not use my ankle to safely perform my playing responsibilities."

Brown said Arians "ordered" him to get on the field. When he refused due to his injury, the coach told him he was "done with the Bucs," according to the player.

One day later, the Buccaneers confirmed that Brown's contract had been terminated. In a statement, the team said, "While Antonio did receive treatment on his ankle and was listed on the injury report the week leading up to last Sunday's game, he was cleared to play by our medical team prior to the start of the game and at no point during the game did he indicate to our medical personnel that he could not play."

The Buccaneers continued, "We have attempted, multiple times throughout this week, to schedule an evaluation by an outside orthopedic specialist, yet Antonio has not complied. Maintaining the health and wellness of our players is of the utmost importance to our organization."

During his CBS Mornings interview, Brown denied that the on-field incident was about performance-based incentives. He said he was on a "prove-it deal, earn-it type deal. And, like, if I could play, wouldn't you think I'd be in the game trying to make the money?"

He continued, "My incentives are performance-based. So I have to go out and perform to earn it."

Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown. Mike Ehrmann/Getty

According to ESPN, Brown and his attorney Sean Burstyn said during another media appearance this week they plan to take legal action against the Buccaneers over the incident.

"All of our options are on the table. We're going to hold to account the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bruce Arians, the general manager to the extent anyone who's responsible for this spin that Antonio isn't reliable to do a good job playing football because he doesn't have the mental fortitude to do it. They'll be held to account," said Burstyn on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, per ESPN.

Brown and Burstyn also allege that the team offered the athlete $200,000 to seek mental health treatment, CBS Mornings reported. Asked by Burleson, Brown said he's "never had a mental health diagnosis. I never had an issue or problem." He said he's sought therapy through the NFL before, but did not mesh with the provided resources.

Asked to comment on Brown's CBS Mornings claims, the Buccaneers directed the show to the previously issued statement from Jan. 6, above.

Brown has beenimmersed in NFL controversies before. In December 2021, the league suspended Brown for three games for allegedly misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status.

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