Report: Bucs Could Cut Antonio Brown but 'No Decision Has Been Made'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown in action during an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Antonio Brown's future with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is reportedly in jeopardy.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, "no decision has been made" regarding whether the reigning champions will bring back the wide receiver and safety Mike Edwards after their three-game suspensions come to an end.

They were suspended for misrepresenting their vaccination status and violating the league's COVID-19 protocols, and Rapoport explained one source "said it is possible the team keeps the players—with the insinuation being that it's possible they do not."

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported Brown's former live-in chef was the one who revealed the wide receiver obtained a fake vaccination card in an effort to avoid the league's protocols.

"Obviously we have two guys suspended," Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told reporters Friday. "The league did their due diligence, and we move on. I will not address those guys for the next three weeks. They'll just be working out, and we'll address their future at that time. Other than that, there's really nothing to say."

Rapoport reported the league and players association were "joined at the hip" during the investigation that led to the suspensions, with the union looking to protect its players.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the NFL initially considered suspending the players six to eight games but settled on three after negotiations. Schefter also noted the NFL has reached out to teams in an effort to seek additional information and avoid similar suspensions. 

Rapoport's report pointed out some people around the league believe there could be other players with fake vaccination cards, although the number is likely low since 80 percent of vaccinated players received their shots under club supervision or at team facilities.

Brown is not appealing and is otherwise sidelined with an ankle injury.

The wide receiver has appeared in just five games this season thanks in large part to injuries, although he was effective when he was on the field with 29 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns. The Buccaneers were also 5-0 in those games, which stands in stark contrast to their 3-3 mark when he has been sidelined.

Tampa Bay is still in first place in the NFC South at 8-3 and comes into Sunday's matchup with the Atlanta Falcons riding a two-game winning streak without Brown.