Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Before re-signing with the Buccaneers, Antonio Brown first had to pass a physical shortly after undergoing knee surgery. Brown passed the physical and will now look to help the Buccaneers repeat as Super Bowl champions in 2021.
On Monday, less than a month after his surgery, Brown was spotted working out at a local high school without the aid of a knee brace. While he is likely still working his way toward being 100%, it appears that the former All-Pro receiver will be ready when the Buccaneers open training camp next month.
Brown has a history when it comes to quick recoveries. He returned for the Steelers’ 2017 divisional round playoff game despite dealing with a significant calf injury sustained four weeks before. While he was clearly not 100%, Brown caught seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars, who boasted one of the league’s top defenses that season.
The soon-to-be 33-year-old caught 45 of 62 targets for 483 yards and four touchdowns during his eight regular-season games with the Buccaneers in 2020. Brown started the postseason strong, catching a touchdown pass in Tampa Bay’s wild-card win over Washington, but Brown was inactive for the Buccaneers’ NFC Championship Game win over the Packers after hurting his knee in Tampa Bay’s divisional round win over the Saints. Brown returned for Super Bowl LV, where he caught five of six targets for 22 yards that included a touchdown pass from Tom Brady. Brown and the Buccaneers dethroned the Chiefs, 31-9.
A member of the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team, Brown was a Pro Bowler in each of his final six seasons with the Steelers. After a tumultuous 18-month period that included issues both on and off the field, Brown has made the most of his opportunity with the Buccaneers, who are trying to become the first team to successfully defend their title since the 2003-04 Patriots.
“Antonio and I connected right away,” Brady said prior to Super Bowl LV, via Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He has a great love for the game. He’s a real perfectionist about how he plays, how he takes care of himself. Incredible football IQ. And then, again, a great skill-set just as a player. … I think he made incredible strides over the last 12 months to get from where he was at to where he’s at now. Everybody is dealing with life. It’s not always the easiest thing for all of us. So you just try to provide some words of support or advice. We need to care for people more and allow people to blossom and be the best they could be. You want to ultimately see them succeed.”