Eric Dickerson on Antonio Brown's exit from Bucs: 'A bad decision that will follow him the rest of his life'

Jarrett Bell
USA TODAY

Eric Dickerson has a warning for Antonio Brown: He may never escape the fallout from the dramatic episode that prompted his split from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“What Antonio Brown did was a bad decision that will follow him the rest of his life,” Dickerson, the Hall of Fame running back, told USA TODAY Sports. “When he’s my age, when he’s 61 years old, that will still follow him.

“Man, he’s such a good player. He works hard. There’s no doubt about his work ethic. But man, that other stuff, it’s like wow.”

Brown was waived by the defending Super Bowl champions following his bizarre exit from a victory against the Jets on Jan. 2, when he peeled off his jersey, shoulder pads and other items and egged on the crowd at MetLife Stadium as he pranced shirtless from the bench to the locker room. Days later, Brown maintained that his latest controversial episode stemmed from Bucs coach Bruce Arians ordering him to play despite an injured ankle.

The injury question struck a nerve with Dickerson, who in a soon-to-be-released autobiography, "Watch My Smoke," described discontent during his final days with the Los Angeles Rams in 1987 that included coach John Robinson ordering him to play through a thigh injury in what turned out to be his final game with the team before he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts. Yet there’s no comparison to the way the volatile Brown handled his apparent issues with the Bucs.

“I saw the Antonio Brown situation and I just felt like this: There were times when I hated the Rams,” Dickerson said. “I didn’t hate the team, I hated the organization, the way they were doing things. But I would never, ever leave the football field. I was always going to play hard. Look, you can have an issue with management, but you’ve got your teammates out there.”

MORE:Ranking the NFL's six* open head coaching jobs from best to worst

QB QUESTIONS:How will many of the non-playoff teams solve their problems?

Antonio Brown warms up before Sunday's game against the Jets in which he left the field in the middle of play.

Dickerson, an NFL analyst for FS1, ultimately patched up differences with the Rams after finishing his playing career in 1993. Since the franchise returned to L.A. from St. Louis, he has represented the Rams in a community service role – a far cry from the acrimony during the 1980s that included bitter contract disputes.

Still, he understands the dynamics of what Brown is claiming as an injury-management issue.

“Let me tell you something,” Dickerson said. “I know how it works: They want your ass out there to play. They don’t care if you’re hurt or not. They don’t care. They really don’t. They want you to perform and then they’ll deal with the consequences later. If you can’t play ever again, but you can help them win that game, that’s fine. It’s on you. But I just felt he shouldn’t have done that.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell.