Tampa Bay announced the signing of former All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown Friday night.
Just a year ago, Buccaneers front office and coaching staff scoffed at the idea of bringing in Brown to supplement their offense. Head coach Bruce Arians’ time spent with a drama-laden AB in Pittsburg surely had some influence on this decision. Long story short, Tampa Bay wanted no part of Brown’s turbulent reputation.
“No (expletive) way does he get in this building,” one team source told CBS reporters last year.
But, when arguably the greatest player in the history of football wants something, you give it to him. Tom Brady, who joined the Bucs at the start of the season, has been vocal about his desire to play with Brown again. It’s no surprise that Brady is pleased to have Brown join the squad.
A Tampa Bay insider shared Brady’s thoughts on Brown’s signing via Twitter:
Brady on Antonio Brown: "He's a tremendous football player. I played with him for a brief period of time. I'm looking forward to working with him again. He's a very hard-working guy."
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 25, 2020
Brown had a very brief stint with Brady and the Patriots in 2019. The two only shared the field as teammates for one game, connecting for 56 yards and a touchdown. Following their first and only game together, Brown was quickly released amid sexual assault allegations against him from multiple women.
Brown is the second weapon lured in by the six-time Super Bowl winning Brady. Star tight-end Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to play with his quarterback again in Tampa Bay. With Gronk, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans on the Bucs squad, Brown joins an already elite receiving core.
As a former top receiver in the league, Brown will certainly improve an already potent Tampa Bay team that leads the NFC South with a 4-2 record. The real question is if AB can shake his disturbing past and stay out of trouble. With his league-enforced eight game suspension almost up, the NFL will no doubt have a close eye on Brown as he returns to the field.
Maybe this time Brown and Brady will last longer than one game.