Antonio Brown no doubt gives an already potent Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense more firepower but not everyone around the NFL is buying into the signing. One NFL executive told CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora that things are “going to get ugly” in Tampa. The anonymous front-office person expressed even more skepticism in Brown’s ability to comply this season given the expanded COVID-19 protocols.
“Mark my words, it’s going to be a problem,” the executive noted. “I give it a week to 10 days before he’s late for the COVID test or doesn’t totally follow protocol. You have no idea the stories we could tell you about this guy. Everything is a struggle. And then once he gets comfortable there, forget about it. Anything goes. This is a new world that is totally foreign to him and with what’s being asked of players now. Good luck. There were plenty of valid reasons why [Arians] didn’t want anything to do with him a year ago. Unless this guy has completely reinvented himself, and done a complete turnaround, this is going to get ugly.”
NFL Teams Express Skepticism That A.B. Can ‘Ruin’ Bucs’ Chemistry
There are others around the NFL that expressed a similar skepticism given Brown’s history. Another executive cited Brown’s track record and wonders if the Buccaneers chemistry will be ruined by the addition of the receiver.
“I have no idea what to make of Antonio Brown,” an executive told The Athletic’s Mike Sando. “My only thing is that team has some good mojo right now, and if Antonio Brown has proven one thing, he can ruin that. The biggest issue probably is, if Brady starts throwing just to Gronk and Antonio Brown, how does everyone handle it?”
It is not just NFL executives but also coaches who do not trust Brown. An offensive coordinator believes Brown’s addition could end up hurting both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
“As a coach, I don’t like the signing,” an offensive coordinator explained to The Athletic. “I don’t like the kind of guy that he is. The way he has behaved, I don’t care what you say, you can be disruptive and cause a problem with the team. …It’s an interesting situation already because I think (Chris) Godwin is their best receiver. Now you bring in another guy who can make Mike Evans even less of the featured guy.”
Arians Described Brown as ‘All-In’ With the Bucs
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has undoubtedly heard the criticism and even expressed his own doubts about Brown since the two parted ways in Pittsburgh. Arians cited the Buccaneer’s injuries at wide receiver as a big reason why he had a change of heart on the decision to add Brown. The Bucs coach described Brown as “all-in” since arriving in Tampa.
“He wants to play,” Arians told ESPN. “If you want to play, you’ve got to do it. In our conversation today, it’s, ‘Go to football practice, go to work, come home and go back to work.’ He’s all-in. I don’t think we’ll have any problems with those things.”
Brown cycled through three teams in 2019 with each franchise making the decision to part ways with the wide receiver. The skepticism around the league is warranted, but the Buccaneers also structured Brown’s contract so that the franchise can release the receiver with little financial ramifications which was not the case with both the Raiders and Patriots.