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Antonio Brown has accused his previous team of a cover-up after he was fired by the Buccaneers for abandoning his squad in the middle of a game.
According to the New York Post, Antonio Brown said that he will have ankle surgery and accused the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of concealing his injury and forcing him to play while injured.
“Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach (Bruce Arians) to play injured,” Brown said in a statement via his attorney Sean Burstyn.
“Despite the pain, I suited up, the staff injected me with what I know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it all for my team.”
Brown, who did not specify which ankle was injured, said he played through the pain until it became unbearable and that he didn't quit on "his brothers," but was "cut" and "thrown out" by the Buccaneers.
Brown, 33, and Burstyn also said the controversial receiver had an MRI exam on Monday, confirming a previous Tampa Bay Times report, and that it revealed broken fragments in his ankle. It was read by two orthopaedic surgeons at the Hospital for Special Surgery, including Dr. Martin O'Malley, and it revealed broken fragments in his ankle.
The Buccaneers also ordered Brown to get a second opinion from a "junior doctor" at HSS, which the Buccaneers described as a "joke," according to the statement.
Brown sat on the sideline as the pain got too "severe," according to the statement, but Arians forced him back onto the field.
“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’,” Brown said in the statement.
“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.”
Arians told Fox Sports' Jay Glazer earlier this week that he tried to get Brown into the game but the wide receiver declined. Arians reportedly urged him to go after he refused a second time. Burstyn also turned to Twitter to defend Brown while slamming the Buccaneers.
“Antonio Brown never faked an injury in his life,” he tweeted. “It is incredible that people are pushing false rumours that what happened Sunday was the result of mental health issues and not a well known ankle injury. Mental health is important, but so is basic dignity. #CutAndCage”
The statement also claimed that Arians lied on national television about not knowing Brown had injured his ankle, claiming that the two had texted about his condition days before the game.
The statement stated, "That is completely untrue."
After recovering from his operation, Brown stated that he intends to play again next season.