It looks like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won’t decide on the futures of Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards — for now.
As head coach Bruce Arians addressed the suspensions of Brown and Edwards due to violations of COVID-19 protocols, the Buccaneers head coach remains mum regarding their futures. Both players will serve three game-suspensions and will be eligible to return in Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers.
“We’ll address their future at that time,” Arians said on Friday, December 3. “Other than that, there’s really nothing to say.”
The NFL announced on Thursday that Brown and Edwards would be suspended due to misleading about their vaccination status. The official statement read as follows.
“The National Football League announced today discipline of three players for violating jointly developed and administered NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols.
Tampa Bay’s Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards have each been suspended without pay for the next three games. Free agent John Franklin III, if signed by a club, is also ineligible to play in the next three games. All three players have accepted the discipline and waived their right of appeal. The suspensions are effective immediately.
The NFLPA represented the three players during a joint NFL-NFLPA review into the recent allegations that players misrepresented their vaccination status under the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols. That review supported those allegations and found that the three players violated the protocols.”
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Brown’s Future With The Bucs in Question
Brown’s future is especially in question considering his shaky past. The former All-Pro receiver was out of the NFL for over a year due to off-the-field troubles relating to a sexual assault allegation and other felony and misdemeanor charges.
When Brown was signed by the Bucs midway through the 2020 season, Arians made it clear that the veteran receiver would be on a short leash.
“I mean, we got two Pro Bowl receivers [Mike Evans, Chris Godwin]. We went to Chicago with none of them, really. They were hurt. And here’s a guy that’s a Pro Bowl type player . . . We’re on the hook for nothing in this deal. He screws up one time, he’s gone. I don’t think he will because he wants to play.”
If Bucs Wanted to Cut Brown, They Would Have Done It
While Arians the Bucs won’t decide on Brown’s future until after his suspension, Bucs beat reporter Greg Auman of The Athletic brings up a very good point — if the team wanted to cut him, they would have done so already.
“I’m just saying if you wanted to make an example of Antonio Brown, you didn’t need to wait three weeks to do it,” said Auman.
Prior to injury, Brown has been one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets this season. Over the course of the first five games of the season, the 33-year-old had caught 29 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns.
Before his suspension was announced, Brown was expected to be out for at least the next two games due to a foot injury, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Despite Brown and Edwards’ suspensions, Arians believes the team has done an “amazing” job handling COVID-19 protocols.
“We have done an amazing job. Even when the guys … we never had an outbreak in a position room. I’m very happy with that part.” Asked if that makes the “misrepresentation” and suspensions worse: “Yeah, it pisses me off.”