Report: Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell, Watkins Among Super Bowl LV Injury Returns

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2021

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) warms up before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

Both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs will reportedly have some key players back on the field for Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7.

According to Dianna Russini of ESPN, Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown (knee) and cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle) are expected to return from injuries. On the other side, running back Le'Veon Bell (knee) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf) are expected to play for the Chiefs. 

After debuting with the Buccaneers in Week 9, Brown hauled in 45 catches for 483 yards and four touchdowns in eight regular-season appearances. He added three receptions for 59 yards and one score during the Buccaneers' first two playoff games.

Without Brown in the lineup, Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady threw for 280 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in a 31-26 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Chris Godwin was the team's leading receiver with 110 yards.

Meanwhile, neither Bell nor Watkins played in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, though those absences did little to slow the Kansas City offense. The Chiefs pulled out a 38-24 victory to advance to their second straight Super Bowl.

A midseason pickup, Bell ran for 254 yards and two touchdowns in nine regular-season appearances for Kansas City. He added 99 yards on 13 receptions in the passing game.

Bell has seen limited action this postseason, totaling just six yards on two carries in a 22-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns in the divisional round.

A hamstring injury kept Watkins out for a stretch of games in October, and he picked up a calf injury in the Chiefs' 17-14 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16.

Watkins' role in the offense has diminished slightly since he joined the Chiefs in 2018. He caught 40 passes for 519 yards and three touchdowns that season, averaging 51.9 receiving yards per game.

In 10 regular-season games in 2020, he had 37 receptions for 421 yards and two touchdowns.

Watkins is more of a luxury than a necessity for Kansas City. Take him out of the mix, and the team still has one of the NFL's best tight ends (Travis Kelce) and a five-time Pro Bowl wideout (Tyreek Hill). Mecole Hardman is a solid No. 3 option too.


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