The rich get richer. Or so we think. Troubled wide receiver Antonio Brown will make his Tampa Bay Buccaneers debut Sunday night, giving quarterback Tom Brady yet another weapon. Brown is coming off an eight-game suspension to start the season and hasn’t played in a game in 14 months. How much of Brown will we actually see this season?
Antonio Brown is back after a lengthy layoff
Antonio Brown was once regarded as the top wide receiver in the NFL. He’s hoping to reclaim that title with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brown returns to the NFL when the Bucs take on the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. He’s hasn’t played in an NFL game since September of 2019.
Brown played nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft out of Central Michigan. Brown thrived in Pittsburgh with seven Pro Bowl seasons, including six straight. He put together six straight seasons of 1,280 receiving yards or better and he twice led the league in receiving yardage. In his nine seasons with the Steelers, Brown had 78 touchdown receptions, including the postseason.
Brown then signed with the Oakland Raiders and never played a game with them. He was released before the season began due to off-the-field troubles. After being released, the New England Patriots scooped Brown up and he lasted just 11 days with the team. He played one game and scored a touchdown in a 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins. He was released because of some off-the-field incidents and hasn’t played in a game since.
Brown’s off-the-field issues
Antonio Brown’s career with the Pittsburgh Steelers came to a halt when he began skipping practices at the end of the 2018 season before going public with his dissatisfaction with the team. His missed practices resulted in him being suspended for the regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. Brown then went to social media and tweeted, “time to move on and forward.”
In March of 2019, Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders. He never played in a game as he had several issues with the team, including a confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock. Brown was released right before the season opener and was then signed by the New England Patriots.
In September of 2019, Brown’s former trainer alleged he sexually assaulted her and she filed a suit against the wide receiver. Another woman then came forward and accused Brown of sexual misconduct. He pleaded no contest in June to a felony burglary with battery charge and two lesser misdemeanor charges involving a moving company, according to ESPN.
How much will we see of Antonio Brown?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a couple of their wide receiver banged up. Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller are nursing injuries that should open the door for Antonio Brown to jump right in and see plenty of action in his Tampa debut. The bigger question is, how much of Brown will we see this year? Will he last? Can he finally fit in with a team? It sounds like if Brown hasn’t completely changed, his time will be short-lived in Tampa.
Earlier this year, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians said Brown wasn’t a good fit for the team. “It’s not gonna happen,” Arians said on “Tiki & Tierney” in March. “There’s no room. It’s just not gonna happen. It’s just not a fit here. I just know him, and — it’s not a fit in our locker room. He’s too much of a diva.”
Arians recently told Peter King of NBC Sports that Brown is on a short leash. “We’re on the hook for nothing in this deal,” Arians said. “He screws up one time, he’s gone. I don’t think he will because he wants to play.” Arians also said if Brown complains about a lack of touches, things won’t end well. “Mike (Evens) never bitches,” Arians said. “I love Mike. Today he didn’t touch the ball till the fourth quarter, but he just wants to win. Chris Godwin, same way. Gronk, same way. If AB’s not that way, then we’re going to have a problem.”