Antonio Brown missed the NFC Championship with a knee injury making his Super Bowl status an intriguing storyline as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers square off with the Kansas City Chiefs. All signs point to Brown being back on the field as the Bucs make history as the first team to play in the Super Bowl at their home stadium. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Brown is expected to play in the Super Bowl giving Tom Brady his full array of offensive weapons.
“As far as Antonio Brown, I’m told the expectation is he will be back for the Super Bowl,” Rapoport noted on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “He was pretty close this week. So, that is a good sign for the Bucs.”
As the NFC Championship showed, Brown is a bit of a luxury for an already-loaded Bucs offense, but the star receiver had more of an involved role in the passing game to close out the season. Through his two playoff games, Brown has three receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown for the Bucs.
Prior to the NFC Championship, Arians Predicted A.B. Would Be Ready for the ‘Next One’
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians made an interesting prediction when he announced Brown would not play against the Packers. Arians noted that the Bucs planned to get Brown ready for the “next one,” a reference to the Super Bowl without mentioning it by name.
“I just talked to him this morning, and to put him on the plane and fly up there and have it swell more doesn’t make any sense,” Arians explained, per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “He wasn’t as close as we’d hoped, so we’ll get him ready for the next one.”
Scotty Miller filled in admirably for Brown against the Packers making arguably the play of the game with a touchdown reception just before halftime. The catch turned a minor four-point lead into a double-digit 11-point advantage for the Buccaneers going into halftime.
Brown on the Bucs: ‘Playing for the Name on the Front’
Brown has been mostly quiet since arriving in Tampa, but the receiver made what has become a rare social media post prior to the playoffs. The receiver emphasized that he is “playing for the name on the front” in his first tweet since September 2020.
“The team. The team. The team,” Brown tweeted. “Playing for the name on the front ☠️ the guys in this locker room 🔥 the city of Tampa 🏝.”
Heading into the playoffs, Arians noted that Brown was finally playing at “game speed.” Arians added that when the Bucs get Brown the ball he is “dangerous.”
“He’s [at] game speed,” Arians told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Pro Football Talk. “He’s back to being A.B. He’s a handful. . . . He is playing really well. Tom [Brady] and him are [on the] same page. He’s into the offense now. He knows the offense, knows where his receptions areas are. So anytime we can get him the ball, it’s dangerous. He’s back into game shape now. It’s one thing to be out running routes and having somebody throw to you and being in physical shape. But game shape is a whole different thing.”