Antonio Brown said on a podcast that his relationship with Tom Brady is based on football.
Brown said Tom Brady “needed’ him to win games and pushed back on reports that Brady mentored Brown.
After Brown walked off the field mid-game, Brady called for compassion for Brown.
During an appearance on the “Full Send” podcast on Friday, embattled wide receiver Antonio Brown appeared to say his relationship with Tom Brady is based purely on football.
Brown, who was officially cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week after leaving the field mid-game on Sunday, said Brady is a friend but stopped short of praising the 44-year-old quarterback.
“Tom is actually my friend, one of my close friends,” Brown said, adding: “Some people have a different definition of ‘friend.’ Because when I say I’m your friend, that mean I got your back. To me, though, that’s what a friend means.”
However, Brown continued, saying Brady was friends with Brown because Brown is a “good football player.”
“We’re playing professional sports. Not everybody in sports is gonna be your friend. Tom Brady is my friend – why? Because I’m a good football player. He needs me to play football, right? These guys called me to win a Super Bowl … They called me and said, ‘Hey AB, we need you to win a Super Bowl.’ Because Tom Brady saw me come to the [Patriots] and run through those guys. The Patriots run a good system with practice and principles, and he learned that AB is a professional.”
It was widely reported that Brady played a big role in bringing Brown to the Buccaneers. Brady had let Brown stay in his house during his brief stint in New England before Brown was cut following sexual assault allegations from a former trainer. It was reported that Brady was hands-on with Brown in Tampa Bay to keep him in line.
On the podcast, Brown shot back at the notion that Brady let him stay in his house for reasons beyond public relations.
“How’d he help me? What, he helped my career to come back? Because I could help him! … I stayed at his house? I got my own money, bro. Do you guys know who I am? I don’t need to stay at no one’s house. I got my own houses. Guys do that to influence you guys in the public, like, ‘Oh, he’s at Tom’s house? Then he’s maybe a good guy.'”
During the interview, Brown frequently bristled at the line of questioning. At one point he brushed back on the notion of Brady’s greatness, saying: “Tom can’t do nothing by himself. He gotta play on a team. This is a football game.”
Brown also seemingly questioned why Brady didn’t help him get a better pay day with the Bucs. It was reported that Brown signed a one-year, $6.25 million deal with the Bucs in the offseason.
“These guys called me to win a Super Bowl after a suspension,” Brown said. “I come and help them do that. If Tom Brady’s my boy, why am I playing for an earn-it salary? … Why is AB on a prove-it deal? Who’s better than me over there? Let’s be real.”
Though Brown insisted he wanted to keep playing football, at one point he said, “Could I have a moment of silence for Antonio Brown, one of the greatest football players of all-time?”
Following Brown’s mid-game exit on Sunday, Brady called Brown one of his friends and said people should have compassion for Brown, who Brady said needs “help.”
“I think everybody should … hopefully do what they can to help him in ways that he really needs it,” Brady said.
“We all love him. We care about him deeply. We wanna see him be his best, and unfortunately, he won’t be with our team … I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic towards some very difficult things that are happening.”
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