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Antonio Brown says the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered him $200,000 to seek mental health support but he refused

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  • NFL star Antonio Brown took off his gear and threw it into the crowd during a game in early January.

  • Brown said he left the game due to injury. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers said Brown did not report an injury.

  • Brown said the team offered him money to seek mental health treatment.

NFL star Antonio Brown said his former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, offered him $200,000 to check into a mental health institution.

"These guys at the Tampa Bay Bucs tried to make an agreement with me to give me $200,000 to go to the crazy house so these guys could look like they know what they were talking about," Brown said during an appearance on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" on Tuesday night.

Brown's attorney Sean Burstyn, who also appeared on "Real Sports," said Brown was offered to sit on the sideline and agree to intensive mental health treatment.

The 33-year-old All-Pro wide receiver made a public departure from the team when he took off his football equipment and threw it into the crowd then danced off the field during Tampa Bay's game against the New York Jets on January 2.

The Buccaneers cut Brown from the team shortly after the game. Head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady referenced Brown's mental health when they discussed his in-game departure during the postgame press conference.

Brown said he left the game because he was being forced to play through an injured ankle despite requesting to rest for that week's game. In a statement released January 6, the Buccaneers said Brown never indicated to the team's medical staff that he couldn't play.

—Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 6, 2022

Burstyn said they are pursuing legal action against the Buccaneers, including a civil suit for defamation, alleging that the team portrayed Brown's departure as being spurred by a mental health episode. Burstyn did not identify a specific statement made by the Bucs that he sees as defamatory.

"Antonio was defamed by this spin that he had a mental health episode that makes him someone who's not reliable to do a good job on the field," Burstyn told "Real Sports" host Bryant Gumbel.

"To the extent any of that is coming from a spin that Antonio had a spontaneous mental episode, it's resentful and it's hurtful and it's a disservice to people who do suffer from mental health challenges. We all have our difficulties," he added.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not responded to Insider's request for comment.

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