A career-ending diagnosis


credit: usatoday

Starting off his football career as a Pittsburg Steeler and ending it as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Antonio Brown runs off the turf one last time for the season, potentially ending his eleven years on the field. With his diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a brain condition that resulted from multiple head injuries, Brown is prioritizing his health over his sport.  

“I believe that it [him leaving] is not so much of a stunt, but it is more of his general cognitive ability. He is showing CTE-like symptoms, which generally leads me towards thinking he has mental issues that need looking at,” Carson Allen, junior, said. 

Brown began his career as a star player, accomplishing a major triumph by completing a kick return touchdown in his first game, which had not been done since 2001 after the Steelers recruited him in 2010. He was later selected to be on the first All-Pro team, a selection of the top players in the nation that play in the Pro-Bowl, and many considered him to be the greatest wide receiver of his time at one point. Though he did not lack talent, Brown continued to be traded among several teams throughout his eleven years of play due to various suspensions, behavioral issues, and even some criminal accusations from violent outbursts and fighting. 

I think Antonio Brown made a good decision to leave the team and environment. He has had some past incidents that were questionable, but was still a good football player,” Kendall Lee, sophomore, said. 

After being diagnosed with CTE and experiencing a difficult ankle injury, Brown continued to play multiple games before deciding his injury was too much for him. In the middle of a game between the Buccaneers and the Jets, Brown removed his jersey and ran off the field holding up a peace sign to signal his goodbye. According to Bruce Arians, the head coach, Brown had angrily erupted on the side of the field but had not shown any signs of an outburst before the game. Arians also claims that Brown had not informed him of his injuries beforehand.  

“At no point in time during that game did he ever ask the trainer or a doctor about his ankle. That is the normal protocol – you go through protocols during games. I was never notified of it,” Arians said. 

While some thought his leaving was dramatic and immature, others believe his exit was reasonable and agree that he should not compromise his health for a sport. Brown continues to defend his choice after the Buccaneers officially removed him from the team and argues that they were aware of his serious injuries but still forced him to continue playing.  

“Asserting that he did not quit on his team, Brown accused the Buccaneers of an ‘ongoing cover-up,’ claiming they knew about the severity of his injured ankle and demanded he continue to play anyway,” Ben Shpigel wrote in a New York Times article 

Though Brown has faced various difficulties and rarely stayed on a team long enough to call it home, he consistently excelled through each play; however, his reign has ended.