Bruce Arians Reveals Target Date for Antonio Brown’s Return

Antonio Brown Buccaneers


TAMPA, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 10: Antonio Brown #81 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates after defeating the Miami Dolphins 45-17 at Raymond James Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is “hopeful” Antonio Brown’s return is soon.

Brown — who has been sidelined since last playing in Week 6 versus the Philadelphia Eagles — has yet to return from an ankle injury. However, Brown has been seen at Buccaneers practice sessions, indicating his return may soon be on the horizon.

Arians appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Wednesday, November 24, and addressed Brown’s potential return. The Bucs head coach is “hopeful” the 33-year-old receiver will return in Week 13 versus the Atlanta Falcons.

Via Tom Pelissero of Sirius XM:

“Bucs coach Bruce Arians told us on @SiriusXMNFL he’s hopeful WR Antonio Brown (ankle) will return next week against the Falcons. ‘He’s moving around a lot better. He’s able to put more weight on the heel and bounce around on it some. We’ve got our fingers crossed …’”

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Bucs Receivers Not Producing in Brown’s Absence

The Buccaneers have clearly missed Brown in the passing game during his absence. In five appearances this season, Brown posted 29 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns. In the five games without him, Bucs receivers that have attempted to fill the No. 3 receiver role — Tyler Johnson, Jaelon Dardon and Breshad Perriman — have combined for just 18 receptions for 168 yards and zero touchdowns.

Prior to the team’s Week 11 matchup versus the New York Giants, Arians stressed the need for receivers outside of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to step up in Brown’s absence.

“The No. 3 receiver, whoever it might be, needs to step up,” Arians said. “Whether it’s Tyler (Johnson), BP (Breshad Perriman), whoever it is right now. Jaelon (Darden). Antonio is a No. 1 [receiver], but he’s a third option sometimes. When he gets singled, he’s gonna win. When those guys are getting singled, they gotta win.”

With Arians essentially ruling Brown out for the Bucs’ Week 12 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, Johnson, Perriman and Darden will once again be asked to fill a major void.

Edelman Reveals Brady Tried to Recruit Him to Bucs

While we’ll be seeing Brown return in the very near future, we won’t be seeing Julian Edelman do so.

The former New England Patriots receiver revealed during an appearance on Peyton and Eli Manning’s Monday Night Football broadcast that Brady attempted to recruit his former teammate.

And it just so happened to occur right after Brady signed with the Buccaneers back in March of 2020.

“(Tom) hit me up the first day he signed there, like, ‘You wanna come down?’” Edelman said of a potential reunion with Brady and Rob Gronkowski in Tampa Bay. “I was like, ‘Absolutely not.’”

Edelman was still under contract with the Patriots at the time and ended up playing the 2020 season — his last — in New England. The former Super Bowl MVP played in just six games that year due to knee surgery before retiring in the offseason.

Not long after Edelman retired in April, Brady teased his former teammate regarding his retirement.

“We know Julian didn’t retire. Let’s be honest,” Brady said at the NFL Draft-A-Thon 2021. “He’s just too scared to tell (Patriots coach) Bill (Belichick) he wants to come to Tampa. I’ve been there.”

As badly as Brady may want to team up with Edelman again, it doesn’t look like the 35-year-old has any interest in making a comeback.

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