Report: Buccaneers' Antonio Brown, other suspended players now vaccinated against COVID-19
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Buccaneers' Antonio Brown, other suspended players now vaccinated against COVID-19

The NFL announced Thursday that Tampa Bay Buccaneers star wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Mike Edwards, along with free-agent receiver John Franklin III, were suspended for three games without pay after the league determined they previously misrepresented their COVID-19 vaccination statuses. Brown allegedly used a fake vaccination card obtained from a teammate to get around certain health and safety protocols. 

It appears those punishments and the story, in general, could've been avoided months ago. 

According to Mark Maske of The Washington Post, all three players are now considered legitimately vaccinated against COVID-19: 

Brown's attorney Sean Burstyn said on multiple occasions last month his client was fully vaccinated and reiterated that stance to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport (h/t Grant Gordon) on Thursday. 

"Mr. Brown is vaccinated and continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate," Burstyn said in a statement. "The NFL made its determination and, instead of going through the drawn-out and distracting process of challenging the outcome, Mr. Brown wrapped this up promptly and he will make this most of this time by treating his ankle injury. Mr. Brown will be motivated, well-rested, and in the best shape of his life when he returns in [W]eek 16." 

Brown and Edwards are eligible to return to action for the Week 16 game at the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 26. Franklin was waived by the Buccaneers in August. 

Brown's status moving forward was already in question, as he's been sidelined since he first suffered an ankle injury on Oct. 14 and was reportedly set to miss at least two more contests because of what head coach Bruce Arians referred to as "a different injury than originally thought." 

One wonders if Arians knew what was coming before Thursday's news. 

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