Rey Del Rio / Contributor
Several weeks ago, news broke that Antonio Brown and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had agreed to terms on a one-year deal that would keep him with Tom Brady and Co. through 2021. As the calendar speeds into late May and with OTAs soon to begin, the two sides agreeing to terms hasn’t yet translated into Brown actually signing his deal. Make no mistake about it, he’d love to do so, but the team is holding off at the moment — head coach Bruce Arians revealing the 32-year-old is scheduled to undergo a procedure on his injured knee.
“He has to pass the physical,” Arians told The Pewter Report. “Hopefully we’ll have a scope on Tuesday. He’s getting his knee cleaned out, and everything will work out fine. It’s just a matter of a physical.”
Brown battled a knee injury during the postseason and was forced to sit out the NFC Championship because of it, but appeared in Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs and his receiving touchdown helped lift Tom Brady and the Bucs over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in what eventually became a blowout victory. It’s unclear if this procedure is to help heal the previous knee injury or a new one that’s cropped up since February, or if Brown was forced into having the surgery at the team’s behest after agreeing to terms but prior to formally signing the deal.
Either way, Arians and general manager Jason Licht want to make sure he’s 100 percent before giving him back his jersey — the former making it clear the plan all along was to keep Brown in Central Florida.
“We wanted AB back,” Arians said. “He was a model citizen the whole time he’s been here. We wanted him back and he’s never had surgery in his life. It’s just a matter of [getting a] physical done. I wanted him back the whole time.”
So, at least for now, the Bucs aren’t viewing this as a major concern. That will remain true as long as Brown rehabs well and ultimately does pass the physical. If he doesn’t, however, he’ll have to find another NFL team to play for this coming season.