Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson on Antonio Browns exit from Buccaneers: I would never, ever leave the football field

One Pro Football Hall of Famer believes Antonio Brown will never be able to shake off the image of the now-former Buccaneers wide receiver jogging out of MetLife Stadium in the middle of the team’s Week 17 game against the Jets.

In an interview with USA Today’s Jarrett Bell, six-time Pro Bowl running back Eric Dickerson said Brown’s decision to rip off his shirt and leave the field during the third quarter of that contest is something that will “follow him the rest of his life.” 

“When he’s my age, when he’s 61 years old, that will still follow him,” Dickerson said. “Man, he’s such a good player. He works hard. There’s no doubt about his work ethic. But man, that other stuff, it’s like wow.”

Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians told reporters immediately after the game that Brown was “no longer a Buc,” and the team officially released him a few days later. Brown has taken to social media to argue that he was dealing with an ankle injury and physically unable to perform, but the Buccaneers asserted that Brown was cleared to play. They also said that Brown never indicated to the medical staff that he could not play.

In his upcoming book “Watch My Smoke,” Dickerson claims that Rams coach John Robinson ordered him to play through a thigh injury in his final game with the team. Dickerson told Bell that, while his relationship with the Rams didn’t end on good terms before Los Angeles sent him to Indianapolis in 1987, the thought of simply walking off the field never crossed his mind.

“I saw the Antonio Brown situation and I just felt like this: There were times when I hated the Rams,” Dickerson said. “I didn’t hate the team. I hated the organization, the way they were doing things. But I would never, ever leave the football field. I was always going to play hard. Look, you can have an issue with management, but you’ve got your teammates out there. …

“Let me tell you something. I know how it works: They want your ass out there to play. They don’t care if you’re hurt or not. They don’t care. They really don’t. They want you to perform and then they’ll deal with the consequences later. If you can’t play ever again, but you can help them win that game, that’s fine. It’s on you. But I just felt he shouldn’t have done that.”

In 15 games with the Buccaneers, Brown totaled 87 receptions for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns. In a statement released through his attorney, Brown said he plans to undergo surgery on his ankle and play again next season.

“Once my surgery is complete, I’ll be back to 100 percent and looking forward to next season,” Brown said. “Business gonna be boomin’!”

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