Antonio Brown will join the Buccaneers this week, barring any last-minute changes to his suspension reinstatement status, renewing his partnership with quarterback Tom Brady, who has taken a vested interest in his comeback.
Brady is the primary reason Brown is in Tampa, league sources said, and he personally vouched for the troubled receiver in conversations with the coaching staff and management. Brady assured the team’s brass that he would work daily with Brown at the facility and away from it to make sure he was a solid teammate and complied with all team rules and Covid protocol. Brown will be residing with Brady for at least a portion of the season, sources said, and Brady vowed that he would make sure Brown attends all meetings and testing and abides by all Covid regulations at work and away from the team.
“Brady told them he is going to make sure this is not a problem,” said one source who had talked to numerous members of the Bucs organization. “He guaranteed BA (coach Bruce Arians) that he would make sure this guy did everything he has to do, even if Brady has to drive him there himself. These two are going to be joined at the hip. And they made it clear to Brady that Brown is on a very short leash. If he (slips up), he’s gone.”
Brown, 32, played just one game with the Patriots last season, going from the Steelers to the Raiders to New England amid controversy and scandal. He is the subject of a civil suit with allegations of sexual assault that is currently set to go to trial in December and the NFL suspended him for the first eight games of this season for violations of the personal conduct policy. He clashed in public and private with team officials in Pittsburgh, Oakland and New England, although Brady urged the Patriots to consider re-signing him after his brief tenure ended there when more allegations against the player became public.
Brady maintained a relationship with Brown during his time away from the team and has tried to assist him with his mental and physical health, sources said, getting him connected with life coaches and other resources. Brady had instant chemistry with Brown at practice with the Patriots and in the one game they played together there, and with the 43-year old quarterback obsessed with winning another Super Bowl, and the Bucs receiving core battling injuries this season, he was a driving force in Brown’s signing.
Arians had vowed a year ago that he would not consider reuniting with Brown, who he knew well from their time in the Steelers organization. Brown is scheduled to join the team for meetings and practices this week.