Buccaneers wideout Antonio Brown and safety Mike Edwards were suspended three games apiece without pay for violating the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols, the league announced Thursday.
According to a press release from the NFL, the 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.
Here is a joint statement from the league and the NFLPA on the suspensions:
“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority. The protocols were jointly developed, working with our respective experts to ensure that we are practicing and playing football as safely as possible during the ongoing pandemic. The NFL-NFLPA jointly reinforce their commitment and further emphasize the importance of strict adherence to the protocols to protect the well-being of everyone associated with the NFL.”
Here is a statement from the Buccaneers on the suspensions:
“We appreciate the League’s timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established. We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols.”
Both Brown and Edwards are eligible to return on December 26 against Carolina. Due to an ankle injury, Brown has not played since Week 6 against Philadelphia.
In addition, free-agent wideout John Franklin III has also been suspended three games for misrepresenting his vaccination status. If signed by a team, he is also ineligible to play in the next three games.
Three games in 11 days are rough for any team in the NFL, which was the case for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and on Thursday night, the Buccaneers concluded those three games in 11 days with a 28-22 road win over the Eagles for their third consecutive victory.
Tampa Bay was not at their best against Philadelphia, but they did enough to get the job done. QB Tom Brady, who came in battling a thumb injury, completed 34-of-42 passes for 297 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
The Buccaneers’ defense also held the Eagles 213 yards of total offense.
“Definitely. It was a good win,” Brady said after the game. “It’s tough to win on the road. Obviously, we didn’t play our best. So we have to get back to work. We have a good little break here – use it – and then get back to work. See if we can get better.”
After the Eagles cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 28-22 late in the fourth quarter, Antonio Brown, who caught nine passes for 93 yards and one touchdown, helped put the game away with a 27-yard reception on the final drive.
“Yeah, [Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown] made a great play,” Brady said. “Just dipped underneath the guy and then found space – kind of what he’s done his entire career. He made a huge play; it was awesome.”
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians added on Brown’s big catch: “It was huge. Great route and hell of a throw when you’re trying to get out of the pocket. It’s a couple times this year he’s thrown out of the pocket to the right and made a big play down the field.”
Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette also came up big. He accumulated 127 yards from scrimmage, taking 22 rushes for 81 yards and two touchdowns while also contributing six receptions for 46 yards. Fournette has now recorded 100-or-more scrimmage yards in three consecutive games. The five-year veteran, who joined the team late in training camp last season, feels much more comfortable this season.
“I came in two weeks before our first game, so just having that year under my belt makes a big difference understanding it,” Fournette said. “Especially, playing with my guys for a year–trusting them and them trusting me–the lack of trust and accountability is done on both sides.”
Brady added on Fournette: “He’s a great back. He’s big, tough, catches it, runs, blocks, does everything for us. [It’s] great to have him in there. Obviously, when he’s rolling, it’s tough to stop us.”
Tampa Bay is 5-1, and each time they have been 5-1(four times), the Buccaneers won at least ten games, so this is shaping up to be another excellent season for the defending world champions.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed wide receiver Antonio Brown in the offseason, they knew that he had the potential to make big plays as he’s done throughout his whole career.
On Sunday, that big-play ability was on full display. Brown, who became the fastest player to 900 receptions, caught seven passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-year touchdown reception as the Buccaneers defeated the Dolphins 45-17 at Raymond James Stadium.
“That is something I am very grateful for, but you know, I couldn’t do it by myself,” Brown said about being the fastest player to 900 receptions. “I’ve been able to play with some great quarterbacks – Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady. It’s a blessing to play with guys like that and be able to get the ball and be on that trajectory.”
The 33-year-old Brown(20 receptions, 325 yards, three touchdowns this season) has had his share of issues off the field, and according to Brown, those issues have made him a better person today.
“In life, we all need conflict,” Brown said. “We all need to go through things to shape our purpose and make us better. If we always sat here and didn’t go through anything, we would not appreciate life, or we wouldn’t be able to grow. I think the things I went through were able to prepare me to grow and make me a better person. I’m glad to be here today.”
Tom Brady, who threw five touchdowns passes on Sunday and developed a close bond with Brown when the two were in New England, gave Brown a lot of credit for keeping his focus on football during the tough times.
“So much, I think since the day we met – obviously I’ve admired him and watched him for a long time and obviously played with him briefly in New England, and [we] just struck up a great relationship, and [I] really wanted to see him get things,” Brady said. “Sometimes things take us away from what we really love to do in football – I think he’s done an incredible job personally of putting a lot of those things aside and just focusing on football and just showing everyone how great he is.”
The Buccaneers have many weapons on the outside in Brown, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin. According to Brady, Tampa Bay has the best wide receivers in football.
“Mike [Evans] is a great player, Chris [Godwin] is a great player, Tyler [Johnson] made some plays,” he said. ‘”So, everybody is really contributing, and it’s fun to see from my standpoint, all these different guys of different ages all kind of coming together as a group and being, I think, the best group of receivers in the league.”
Brown is playing at a fairly high level, which could be bad news for rest of the league.
Last season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown got an opportunity to resurrect his career when he signed with the team last October after he missed most of the 2020 season due to suspension.
Brown, who reunited with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay after the two spent time together in New England in 2019, took full advantage of his opportunity with the Buccaneers. In eight games for Tampa Bay last season, Brown had 45 receptions for 483 yards and four touchdowns. Ultimately, he helped the Buccaneers win a Super Bowl.
After recovering from knee surgery in the offseason, Brown re-signed with the Buccaneers as he agreed to a one-year deal.
Brown has been impressive at training camp. According to Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, the 33-year-old Brown looks like the guy he saw four or five years ago in terms of his speed.
“This is the healthiest he’s been in a few years,” Arians said on Monday. “He probably needed that procedure, but he wouldn’t do it. That first surgery is always tough. It’s amazing – I was actually talking to Emmanuel Sanders last night about [it]. That’s his first surgery is amazing. It’s remarkable how he takes care of himself. Yeah, he’s playing at a speed I saw four or five years ago.”
Brown added: “I’m putting my hand in the pile and putting my conditioning on display. I don’t take for granted being here. [I’m] thankful I have great health. I thought that [Dr. Neal Elattrache] did a great job along with the team doctors, team staff, and Alex Guerrero. I’ve got the best training guys here. I’m just happy to be here right now and do what I love and play football.”
The 11-year veteran was asked how long he expects to play in the NFL on Monday, and he said the following:
“We’ll see. I’m still having fun, still an explosive player, and still love to play the game,” Brown said. “So, hopefully, it’ll be a long time.”
With Brown, Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard, Leonard Fournette, and more. Tampa Bay has many weapons on offense, and if that offense can stay healthy, they will be tough to stop in 2021.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have re-signed wide receiver Antonio Brown, the team announced on Tuesday. The deal was reportedly agreed upon for weeks, but Brown recently underwent a procedure on his right knee, and on Tuesday, he was able to pass his physical.
According to Tom Pelissero, it’s a one-year deal worth up to $6.25 million with $3.1 million fully guaranteed, including a $2 million signing bonus.
The 32-year-old Brown was suspended eight games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy in 2020. After missing most of the 2019 season following his release from the Raiders and Patriots, the Buccaneers gave Brown a second chance when they signed him last October.
In eight regular-season games with the Buccaneers, the 11-year veteran had 45 receptions for 483 yards and four touchdowns. Throughout Tampa Bay’s 2020 postseason run to a 31-9 win in Super Bowl LV, Brown hauled in eight receptions for 81 and two touchdowns over three games played.
Brown’s return is huge for Tampa Bay, and with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay has one of the best group of wide receivers in the NFL.
Leonard Fournette is back with the Buccaneers after he agreed to a one-year deal, the team announced on Wednesday.
According to espn.com, the deal is worth $3.25 million with incentives that would push it to $4 million.
In his first season with Tampa Bay in 2020, Fournette appeared in 13 regular-season games, making three starts. He rushed 97 times for 367 yards and six touchdowns while adding 36 receptions for 233 yards in the passing game.
The 26-year-old Fournette returns to Tampa Bay for a second season after helping the team win Super Bowl LV.
The five-year veteran came to the Buccaneers after he was released by the Jaguars last summer.
Like Fournette, Antonio Brown’s career was in trouble before he joined Tampa Bay in October after serving an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The 11-year veteran played in only one game in 2019 after the Raiders and Patriots released him.
According to Fournette, he and Brown looked at the Buccaneers as “Last Chance U.”
“I used to try to make a joke out of it,” Fournette said. “I used to tell AB, ‘this sh** feel like Last Chance U.’ We can’t mess up. We on our second go round and things like that. He used to be like, ‘you know what, you gotta look at it like that…’ I think those conversations it carried me a long way throughout the season. We talked every day about it.”
For the 32-year-old Brown, it was “Last Chance U.” If he messed up, his career was probably over. As for Fournette, due to his age, he would have gotten another shot. However, nothing was guaranteed.
Fortunately, for the Buccaneers, Fournette, and Brown, things worked out. Fournette is back, and we’ll see if Brown will join him.