What did Antonio Brown do? Why did he leave the Bucs-Jets game on Sunday?

"HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 29: NFL player Antonio Brown attends as athletes and YouTube stars team for DOOM Videogame Tournament at Siren Studios on March 29, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Bethesda Softworks)"

Antonio Brown appeared to quit on his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates in spectacular fashion on Sunday afternoon, stripping his shirt off and exiting the field midway through a game against the New York Jets.

Brown’s abrupt exit left numerous fans baffled, and wondering after his future with the Buccaneers — and indeed, in the NFL. New details raise even more questions, as fans wonder after why Brown reacted the way he did, and worry over what comes next in regard for his professional career.

Partway through the third quarter, Brown took his jersey and shoulder pads off, followed by his undershirt and gloves, and tossing them into the crowd. He followed this by dancing and waving his way across the field, flashing the peace sign to fans before exiting into his team’s locker room. Soon after, he reportedly departed the stadium solo, leaving the remainder of his team to fly back to Tampa without him.

In the aftermath of the incident, Buccaneer Head Coach Bruce Arians told reporters that Brown is “no longer a Buc.” He didn’t elaborate on Brown’s reasons for leaving the stadium, merely telling reporters that his removal from the team is “the end of the story.”

Brown was reportedly benched shortly before he made his exit, however, prompting theories that he left out of frustration. In the aftermath of the incident, veteran Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady urged people to be “compassionate and empathetic” and hinted that Brown may be dealing with “some very difficult things.”

“That’s obviously a difficult situation,” he said, adding that the team “love(s) him and care about him deeply,” according to the Sun.

A new report indicates that Brown’s reason for leaving may have actually been linked to an injury, per reporting from Yahoo!

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport claimed that Brown’s ankle — which has reportedly been giving him issues for a while now — was the real culprit behind his display on Sunday. In a segment shared to his Twitter account, Rapoport said that Brown was hesitant to enter the game due to an ankle injury he has been struggling with for weeks.

“He had been battling an ankle injury for the last several weeks, did not practice Thursday, did not practice Friday, and I know personally had some doubts whether or not he would be able to be out there and play,” Rapoport said. He went on to explain that, to his understanding, Brown told staff that he should not enter the game “because, in his mind, he did not feel he was healthy.”

The response to this assertion was, according to Rapoport’s reporting, “If you are not going to go into the game when we tell you to go into the game, then you can not be here.”

Brown was then reportedly cut from the team.

Brown has reportedly had consistent issues with his ankle of late, which adds weight to his claim that it was the culprit behind his unexpected exit. As noted by Yahoo!, however, Brown did not appear to be favoring his ankle in the footage of his final moments on the field. That does not necessarily negate the claim, however, as there is a very large difference between walking on an injured ankle and playing pro football on one.

More than one person took to Twitter to discuss another brand of fallout from the walkout — its effect of people who were depending on him to help deliver a fantasy football league victory, as a number of fantasy football players were watching games yesterday with championships on the line.

The unexpected events of Sunday throw Brown’s pro football future into question. Fans of the wide receiver are hoping to see him return, in whatever capacity may present itself, but the optics of his exit leave that future unclear. Brown also has a history of behavior that could cause NFL teams some concern, including his recent widely-publicized attempt (covered by the New York Times and others) to fake a vaccine card to avoid the NFL’s vaccination protocols.

Despite Brown’s exit, the Bucs won Sunday’s contest 28-24 and are headed back to the playoffs with a 12-4 record, looking to win back-to-back Super Bowls for the first time since the New England Patriots — helmed by Brady — accomplished that feat in the 2004 and 2005 seasons