Usually, controversies involving Antonio Brown arise from his own behavior. The latest issue regarding Brown flows from something other than anything he’s done.
Three weeks after Brown agreed to terms on a return to the Buccaneers, Brown still isn’t part of the roster. Coach Bruce Arians disclosed that Brown had knee surgery on Tuesday, and that he has yet to pass a physical.
So we posed these two questions both to the team and Brown’s agent, Ed Wasielewski. First, did Brown pass his exit physical at the conclusion of the 2020 season? Second, has Brown already taken and failed a physical after agreeing to terms on a deal for 2021?
Both team and agent declined to comment on the situation.
Until Brown passes a physical, he won’t be on the team. It’s hard not to be curious about the timing of the news of Brown’s agreement to return to the Bucs — one day before the 2021 draft began — and the fact that the Bucs traded up in round four to get North Texas receiver Jaelon Darden. A cynic would say that the Bucs struck the deal with Brown the day before the draft so that other teams wouldn’t think they’d be looking to draft another receiver. The fact that they gave up a sixth-round pick to move up to get Darden shows that they definitely were targeting the position.
Now that they have acquired Darden, do they really need Brown?
If/when Brown’s signing becomes official, the Bucs will have six highly competent receivers on the roster. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Brown, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, and Darden.
“This is pretty special,” Arians told the Pewter Report Podcast. “Just to get dressed on Sunday, you better be a hell of a special teams player, too. That sixth spot, man, there’s going to be some great competition.”
If Brown can’t pass a physical, the Bucs will still be fine at the position. Until he does, it’s fair to consider the possibility that maybe the Buccaneers don’t really want him to.