OPINION: Antonio Brown’s ego is starting to get the best of him


On Sunday, Jan. 2 during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the New York Jets, fans saw one of the most peculiar events. Wide receiver Antonio Brown stripped off his uniform, threw his gear to fans and left during the third quarter.

According to head coach of the Buccaneers, Bruce Arians, Brown refused to play because of an ankle injury. However, some sources say that Brown believed he was cut from the Buccaneers midgame.

Brown has not received much support from his coaches or teammates since he left the field. However, Tom Brady, quarterback of the Buccaneers, spoke fondly of Brown during the post-game press conference. 

“I think everyone should do what they can to help him (Brown) in ways that he needs,” Brady said. “You know we all love him and care about him deeply. We all want him at his best. I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things that are happening.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 6 Brown was officially released from the Buccaneers. He was signed in October of 2020. While on the team, Brown helped the Buccaneers win their second super bowl in team history. This was Brown’s first super bowl win as a player. He caught five receptions and scored one touchdown. However, on top of leaving in the middle of the game against the New York Jets, he was suspended for three games due to a false COVID-19 vaccination card in December of 2021.

This was not the first time Brown caused chaos in his career, but what is the source of Brown’s issues?

Fans, teammates and coaches believe Brown suffers from a brain condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This condition is also known as CTE.

CTE is the deterioration of the brain after multiple head injuries. The condition is often found in boxers and football players. Unfortunately, CTE cannot be diagnosed until after death with an autopsy. One of the most common symptoms is changes in mood, which can be moderated through therapy and medications. Brown first began to show symptoms of mood swings in 2016 after he was hit by former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker, Vontaze Burfict. 

Since his dismissal, Brown has been featured on the Full Send Podcast. When he was interviewed, he dodged multiple questions. About twenty minutes into the podcast Brown briefly mentioned his ankle injury from October of 2021.

Brown does not believe he needs any help mentally because “people do not understand his actions.” Bob Menery, lead host of Full Send, asked Brown if he thought he could possibly have CTE. This is one of Brown’s least favorite topics to be asked about. In every interview he gets asked, he gets aggressive and upset. He knows that he cannot be diagnosed until after he dies, so he does not understand why people ask him about it. Obviously, he knows CTE may be a possibility, but he does not want that public diagnosis to determine the rest of his football career.

While I do believe Brown has mental health issues, I question whether he has CTE or not.

In my mind, Brown’s mental health and fame are causing him to have a boosted ego. Brown believes he is the best player to ever exist in the NFL. When he left the field last week, he did not care how that would affect him. When asked in multiple interviews if he was on the roster, he was unaware and did not care. He even laughed about it. He knew that he would be cut from the team because of his actions, but he believes his skill is enough to land him on a new team. 

Brown does have a good record, especially last season. He earned an 82.6 receiving grade while also catching 98% of his catchable targets according to pff.com However, if I were an NFL head coach, I would not want to work with an unprofessional player who is willing to make a scene and leave the field. 

On the Full Send Podcast, Brown proceeded to talk about Brady. He claimed the two are friends only because Brady needed him to win. He continued to blame Brady for his salary as he accused Brady of being the real general manager of the Buccaneers.

“If Tom Brady is my boy, why am I playing for an earnest salary (of $3.1 million in one year),” Brown said. “You’re my boy though, right? Gronkowski is his boy, right? How much is he getting paid ($8 million in one year)? So why is AB on a prove-it deal? Who’s better than me over there? Let’s be real.”

In my mind, Brown crossed a line with this accusation. Jason Licht is the general manager, not Brady. Furthermore, the reason Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski get paid more are for two reasons. One, they all play different positions which make different salaries, and two, super bowl rings.

Brady currently has seven super bowl rings, which is more than any single NFL team. Gronkowski currently has four rings. Before Brady and Gronkowski were signed to the Buccaneers, they had six rings and three rings apiece. Before Brown was signed to the Buccaneers, he had not won a single super bowl. 

He claimed Brady needed him to win, but I think it was the other way around. Brady knows he relies on his fellow teammates, but he knows they also need him. Last season, Brady made sure he threw three back to back passes to Brown so he could earn a $250,000 bonus.

Brady has been extremely kind to Brown expressing how they “have a lot of friendships that will last beyond the field”, so let’s see if he changes his mind after hearing Brown’s statements.

Brown does intend to continue his career in the NFL. He is currently a free agent and his best potential fits are the Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys.

I wish nothing but the best of luck for Brown and I hope he reaches out to get the help he needs before he lets his ego bring an end to his NFL career.