USA TODAY Sports Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown has been ruled out of Pittsburgh's AFC playoff game against Denver this weekend, after the wide receiver remained in the league-mandated concussion protocol.

Brown suffered the head injury on one of the last plays of the Steelers' AFC Wild Card game against Cincinnati, in which he was struck in the head by Vontaze Burfict. Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, who earned his own personal foul penalty for arguing with the official over the penalty, criticized Brown at several different times for faking the injury.

But his failure to pass the league's concussion tests prove that the injury was no acting job. When the news broke, Jones posted an apology to Instagram.

@antoniobrown84 I truly apologize !!!!!! That's my word !!!

A video posted by @realpacman24 on

Earlier in the week, Jones said he would apologize to Brown if he wound up missing the game. But at the time, Jones was confident Brown would play, and that he was only pretending to be hurt.

"I know he was faking it," Jones said Monday on "The Dan Patrick Show." "Go back and look at the play. If you go back and slow-motion play, you tell me that Vontaze hit him in the head or did his shoulder pads barely touch him?"

Prior to that interview, Jones had said that Brown winked at him while lying on the ground.

"He deserved a Grammy Award for that. I know if you got knocked out, you ain't going to be able to wink and tell me you're OK," Jones said.

Jones drew criticism of his own, for suggesting Brown's acting performance merited an award given to musicians.

Brown's injury is a serious blow to Pittsburgh's hopes this weekend. Already without starting running back Le'Veon Bell for the rest of the season, the team recently got word that second-string running back DeAngelo Williams would also be held out of the game.

Now Ben Roethlisberger's top receiving target, Brown, is out. And Big Ben might be, too -- he's listed as questionable with a shoulder injury, and backup Landry Jones has taken the bulk of first-team snaps in practice this week. Even if he does play, there's speculation that Roethlisberger's shoulder won't be strong enough to handle deep throws.

Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati, but the personnel losses suffered in that game might still spell the end of its season.

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