By Doug Kolic
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – During Sunday’s week seventeen matchup between The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and The New York Jets, star wideout Antonio Brown shocked fans by leaving mid-game, stripping off his shoulder pads and uniform, and running out of MetLife Stadium as fast as he could.
What at first seemed like just another bizarre incident involving the troubled seven-time Pro Bowler, Brown insisted it was just a misunderstanding that in no way reflected his dedication to football.
“I know the optics are bad. We were down 24-10 in the third quarter, and coach said they needed me. I was ready to go in and help get the win,” Brown said, “but just then I had a sinking feeling, ‘holy shit, did I forget to turn the stove off?’ I was torn between my commitment to my team and my commitment to fire safety.”
Brown continued to say that he wasn’t one hundred percent sure he did leave the stove on in the team’s practice facility while making a quesadilla prior to the game, but the lingering doubt was just too strong to ignore.
“When I was a kid, most boys my age had posters of bikini models or NFL stars on their wall, but I had a framed picture of Smokey Bear. He really influenced my devotion to fire prevention, so if there’s even a shadow of a doubt that I left a stove on or a campfire unattended, I will literally drop everything I’m doing, including participating in a high stakes professional sports contest watched by millions, to go check.”
Brown’s exit came just as his team was trying to mount a second-half comeback, which they eventually did, winning the game 28-24. But the fans in the stadium who weren’t privy to his fire safety issue were left baffled.
“I’ve been watching football for over fifty years and I’ve never seen anything like that”, said long-time Buccaneers’ fan Todd Cornelius, who drove over eighteen hours to see the game.
“To us, it looked like coach Arians wanted Brown in the game, then next thing we know he was getting naked and throwing his equipment into the stands, before peacing out and hightailing it the fuck out of there. I really don’t understand why a pro athlete would behave that way, and let his team down. Unless he forgot to turn the stove off or something, of course.”
After the game, the coach confirmed that due to his outburst and sudden departure, Brown was no longer a member of the Bucs. When asked whether he knew about the safety issue Brown mentioned, he replied, “He didn’t mention anything about quesadillas or a stove to me. If he did, obviously I would have understood, and had the game stopped immediately. Some things are bigger than football.”
Standing by his empty locker, a reflective Brown stated he will always be proud of the fact he helped Tampa Bay win a Super Bowl in 2021, and hoped he would be an inspiration to safety-conscious kids all over the world.
But when asked for confirmation whether the stove was indeed left on or not, Brown paused, ripped off his microphone, and inexplicably ran out of the locker room to parts unknown.