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Antonio Brown expected to return to Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16 following suspension

Matt Johnson
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown is expected to return to the field in Week 16 after serving a three-game suspension for using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said Friday that he made his decision on Brown’s status with the team but wouldn’t publicly announce it until before or after Sunday’s game. The star wide receiver and defensive back Mike Edwards were in jeopardy of being cut for deceiving the NFL and the Buccaneers about their vaccination status.

But if there was any doubt about Brown returning to the team right before the NFL playoffs, it should be erased following NFL Network’s report Sunday.

According to Ian Rapoport, Brown and Edwards are both expected to rejoin the team on Monday. While Arians left the door open for both men to be released, Brown posted a video of himself inside the team’s facility earlier this week.

  • Antonio Brown stats (2021): 29 receptions, 418 receiving yards, 14.4 ypc, four touchdowns

Of course, Arians’ decision to keep Brown comes just over a year after he said Tampa Bay would cut him if he screwed up even once.

“He screws up one time, he’s gone. I don’t think he will because he wants to play.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians on Antonio Brown in 2020, via Peter King

Of course, this is the same head coach who publicly stated in March 2020 that signing Brown was, “just not gonna happen.” Just a few months later, thanks to some convincing from Tom Brady, Tampa Bay signed Brown to a one-year contract and they re-signed him this offseason.

Ultimately, it’s not surprising that the talented wide receiver will rejoin the Buccaneers. He is Brady’s best friend and the franchise wants to win another Super Bowl at all costs, even if it means Arians going back on his statement for a second time.