Antonio Brown proved last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers he’s still a productive wide receiver on the field, but he only got that opportunity because of the strides he made outside the lines.
Tuesday’s news offered further proof that Brown continues to turn a corner in his personal life, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the All-Pro wideout’s probation ended a full year early:
Brown’s detrimental conduct led to a worn-out welcome with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots in quick succession. He appeared in only one game for the Pats in 2019, as his career hung in the balance.
Thanks to Tom Brady taking him under his wing and some of his own personal growth, Brown kept the focus strictly on football, and ensured Tampa Bay he wouldn’t be a headache in the locker room. AB got one last chance with the Bucs in 2020, and made the most of it.
Despite signing with Tampa Bay in late October 2020 off an eight-game suspension, having to learn the offense on the fly and competing for targets with such decorated receivers as Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Brown logged 45 receptions for 483 yards in eight games during the regular season.
Brown also caught a touchdown pass in the Bucs’ 31-9 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.
After re-signing him to a short-term, incentive-laden contract this offseason, it’s obvious Tampa Bay was still a little wary of what Brown’s future may hold. Provided he continues on his current trajectory, though, the Bucs’ receiving corps should feature Brown in a prominent role during the 2021 campaign.