By: Enzo Whetton
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are once again in the conversation for best team in the NFL. Led by quarterback Tom Brady, the Bucs have an extremely potent offense, ranked #1 in the league, along with a solid defense with stars like defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. and linebacker Devin White.
Last year, Tampa added star wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown had been the Pittsburgh Steelers’ number one option for many years, before going to the Raiders and Patriots (when Tom Brady was still there). His career seemed to be on a steep downward slope, with scandals surrounding him on each team he played on. He was labeled a problem in the locker room, and it seemed no team wanted to risk adding a toxic player, no matter how skillful Brown was and is.
That is, of course, until the Buccaneers showed up. Halfway through last year’s regular season, Tampa Bay added Brown to their receiving core, headed by Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. He added a burst of electricity that helped the Buccaneers down the final stretch of the regular season before winning their playoff games and beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. Head coach Bruce Arians was hesitant to add Brown, but did so, and it seemed to be a great move for the team.
Tampa saw this success and, surprisingly, was able to keep all 22 of their starters for this season, something no one thought would be possible. The team has had continued success, now sitting with a 10-3 record. Antonio Brown, however, is sitting on his couch.
The star wideout had rumors, now confirmed, that he had paid for a fake vaccine card. The NFL suspended him for 3 games, and Arians has to make a decision regarding his status with the Buccaneers organization. For someone who seemed pretty reluctant to sign Brown in the first place, I would not be surprised if Brown finds himself released soon. However, the loss to the receiving room could take a toll on the team, though so far Brown’s absence has just left more room for receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to work.