Antonio Brown is signing a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The news comes after multiple reports indicated Brown was scheduled to visit with the Buccaneers ahead of their matchup against the Raiders.
“Update: Antonio Brown and the Buccaneers have reached agreement on a one-year deal, per sources,” Schefter tweeted. “Language still has to be finalized, COVID protocols passed, but Brown is likely to make his Bucs’ debut in Week 9 against the Saints.”
With Brown’s suspension about the end, there was some buzz that Tom Brady was pushing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to sign the wide receiver. Before the news broke, WDAE 95.3 Tampa’s Tom Krasniqi believed Brady was “pounding the table” behind the scenes for the team to bring in Brown.
“Brady is pounding on the table to bring Antonio Brown to town… I don’t think the Bucs want to do it, I don’t want them to do it,” Krasniqi noted.
The rumors linking Brown to the Bucs date back to the offseason. Brady played briefly with Brown in New England and developed a relationship with the wide receiver before the Patriots released him after one game.
Brown on Buccaneers: ‘To Play With Tom Brady Would Be an Extreme Honor’
Brown has been vocal about his desire to join Brady at his next stop after the Patriots which ended up being the Buccaneers. The challenge was Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has been just as vocal about the team’s disinterest in the volatile receiver. Back in March, Brown admitted during an interview on 102.5’s The Bone’s Mike Calta Show that he wanted to play again with Brady in Tampa.
“I’d be really grateful if I had the opportunity to play in Tampa Bay, to play anywhere,” Brown said, per The Washington Post. “Obviously to play with Tom Brady would be an extreme honor. You know his quality of leadership. You know, his [passion], the want to win. Anytime you can be around a guy like that, man, it’s an extreme honor. You know you’re going to have opportunity to do something exciting.”
Arians on the Bucs Potentially Signing A.B.: ‘It’s Not Going to Happen’
Arians coached Brown in Pittsburgh and has been less than complimentary of the receiver since the two went their separate ways. Arians shot down the rumors during an interview in March on the Tiki and Tierney Show noting “it’s not going to happen.”
“Yeah, it’s not going to happen,” Arians explained, via Pro Football Rumors. “It’s just not going to happen. There’s no room and probably not enough money. But it’s just not going to happen. It’s not a fit here.”
The injuries to both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans appear to have prompted Arians to have a change of heart.
Brown Has Been ‘Laying Low’ as he Looks to Resume His NFL Career
After Brown wore out his welcome with three different teams in 2019, the receiver is trying to resurrect his career and change his image. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported there are small signs of hope that Brown is a changed man.
“People close to Antonio Brown are encouraged by the fact that he is staying off social media,” Fowler noted on SportsCenter. “He has said very inflammatory things there for the last year, but the last few months he’s just been laying low. He’s been working out twice a day, every day. He goes to his indoor facility then he takes to the practice field with a trainer. He’s also been trying to resolve all his legal cases. His former trainer who alleged sexual assault against Brown is still pending in that case, but he has dropped his countersuit against her. So, he knows he’s close and he’s told somebody close to him, ‘Look, I can’t go out like this. My career cannot end this way.'”
The Buccaneers have plenty of receivers but both Godwin and Evans have been dealing with injuries. Brady has been vocal in his support for Brown, and likely played a big factor in the Buccaneers’ decision to give the receiver an opportunity.
Tampa had competition as they opted to pursue Brown as Schefter previously reported several teams were interested in the receiver. The Seahawks are just one of the teams that had been vocal about their interest in Brown.