Tampa Bay Buccaneers star wide receiver Antonio Brown has not suited up since suffering an ankle injury back in Week 6.
Brown will now be sidelined for at least three more weeks after the NFL suspended him and two other players for violating its COVID-19 protocols.
“Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards and John Franklin III are ineligible to play the next three games. The National Football League announced today discipline for the three players for violating jointly developed and administered NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols,” the NFL announced.
Meanwhile, the league and the NFLPA released a joint statement following the suspensions:
“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority. The protocols were jointly developed working with our respective experts to ensure that we are practicing and playing football as safely as possible during the ongoing pandemic,” the two said in a statement. “The NFL-NFLPA jointly reinforce their commitment and further emphasize the importance of strict adherence to the protocols to protect the well-being of everyone associated with the NFL.”
All of this comes two weeks after Brown’s former live-in chef said the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver forfeited his vaccine card ahead of the start of the NFL season.
“Bucs receiver Antonio Brown obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card so he could avoid NFL protocols, according to his former live-in chef,” Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times noted back in November. “Brown’s girlfriend, model Cydney Moreau, told Los Angeles chef Steven Ruiz in a text message July 2 that Brown was willing to pay $500 if he could get a Johnson & Johnson vaccination card.”
Brown and the team initially pushed back against the allegations, but it’s now clear that he did in fact violate COVID protocols. This also comes on the heels of the league opting not to suspend Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for also misrepresenting his vaccination status.
A sixth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2010, Brown has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently. A spat with then-teammate Ben Roethlisberger led to his departure from Pittsburgh following the 2018 season. He was traded to the then-Oakland Raiders before being released without having played a single game. Brown then latched on with the Patriots, but was released after allegations of sexual assault were levied in his direction.
He did return to the NFL as a member of the Buccaneers last season, helping them earn a surprising Super Bowl title.
As for the other two players suspended, Edwards is currently Brown’s teammate with Tampa Bay, while Franklin III is a free agent.