Antonio Brown to Return to Bucs on Monday After Suspension for Vaccine Card

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 19, 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 will rejoin the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday after serving his three-game suspension for violating COVID-19 protocols, general manager Jason Licht announced Sunday night.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network previously reported that Brown was expected to rejoin the team after his suspension.

Brown was suspended in early December alongside teammate Mike Edwards and free agent John Franklin III after the NFL determined they misrepresented their vaccination status. Brown was previously accused of obtaining a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

Edwards will also rejoin the team.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians previously indicated he wasn't sure if Brown or Edwards would be accepted back on the team:

Dan Patrick Show @dpshow

"Could go either way."<br><br> -Coach Bruce Arians discusses Antonio Brown's future with the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bucs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bucs</a><br><br>For his full appearance: <a href="https://t.co/iH24DiJ4VG">https://t.co/iH24DiJ4VG</a> <a href="https://t.co/uziHKwVYFY">pic.twitter.com/uziHKwVYFY</a>

"It could go either way right now; it really could," Arians told the Dan Patrick Show. "Just continuing where those two guys are at and where the team is at."

Rapoport previously reported Brown's future with the team was up in the air with the possibility he could be released.

The 33-year-old has now seemingly done enough to keep his job, including attending meetings and working out at the facility during his suspension, per Rapoport.

An ankle injury limited Brown even before the suspension, keeping him off the field since Week 6. The seven-time Pro Bowler has still been an impact player when healthy, totaling 418 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 29 catches in five games.

Even with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski on the roster, Brown leads the team with 83.6 receiving yards per game.

Though he will miss Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints, Brown's possible return in Week 16 will make the Buccaneers even more dangerous. Tampa Bay already ranks first in the NFL in points per game, yards per game and passing yards per game this season.