Normally, a player who’s missed that much time would be on a snap count in their first game back. But Brown isn’t a normal player. He was arguably the best wide receiver in the world just two years ago. He also already has a rapport with Brady from last season. The Buccaneers won’t be wasting any time getting Brown involved, so expect him to have a big game on Sunday night.
Antonio Brown hasn’t played in over a year
It might seem like forever ago when Antonio Brown was tearing up the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Brown led the league in touchdown receptions just two years ago. The WR caught 15 touchdown passes and racked up 1,297 yards in 2018.
Then, he went off the rails, and the Steelers cut ties with him after the 2018 season. Brown was traded to the Raiders shortly after, but he didn’t even make it to the start of the 2019 season before getting cut for his antics.
With sexual assault lawsuits swirling, the New England Patriots signed Brown as a free agent and activated him for their Week 2 game against the Miami Dolphins.
On Sept. 19 of last year, Brown played his first and last game with the Patriots. He hasn’t played a single NFL snap since then.
Brown has a connection with Brady
Brown and Brady weren’t teammates for very long. They only played one game together in the same uniform, but their rapport was evident from the jump.
The two connected for four receptions, 56 yards, and a touchdown on eight targets. The back-shoulder pass down the sideline for a touchdown was a thing of beauty, and it looked like the two had been playing together for years.
Brady was a big part of bringing Brown to New England, and he urged the Buccaneers to do the same this season. Tampa Bay listened, so the former teammates will reunite on the field this Sunday night for the first time in over a year.
The Buccaneers will feed Brown early and often in his debut
The entire football world wants to know how much playing time Brown will get in his season debut. He might be rusty after a year away from the playing field, but that won’t stop the Buccaneers from feeding him the ball.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Sunday that Brown will be involved early and often in his Buccaneers debut on Sunday night.
“He’s going to be involved early, bank on it,” one unnamed source said. “BA (Coach Bruce Arians) might have a pitch count in mind, but we’ll see how that goes.”
“AB is his guy,” another source said. “He’s going to see the ball.”
The Buccaneers know they just added a stallion to their already-potent offense. In a crucial NFC South matchup against the New Orleans Saints this week, why wouldn’t they let him loose?