The Antonio Brown experiment begins

The controversial wide receiver has been signed and activated by the Bucs for a Week 9 return.

Brown (pictured above) during his short stint in 2019 with the Patriots.

Brown (pictured above) during his short stint in 2019 with the Patriots.

Alex Kajda, Staff Writer

The 2020 NFL free agency and trade deadline period was a dud to say the least. Many exciting deals that were rumored for weeks on end never came to fruition, and the small amount of trades that did happen barely scraped the headlines. This obviously can be attributed to the weird season that’s been a result of COVID-19, leading teams to be less prone to change with their money and roster designations. One of the biggest deals that ended up coming out from this period though was the very controversial and likely NFL superlative winner for “player blacklisted by the most teams” Antonio Brown signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As for the move, I’m personally not a big fan. The Buccaneers wide receiver depth is completely fine without the addition of Brown, with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller all doing great for Tom Brady. Miller, the designated third string receiver going into the 2020 season, has had a great connection with Brady thus far and is actually the Buccaneers leading receiver in terms of yards this year. Adding Brown likely moves Miller down the depth chart and hurts the chemistry of the team that’s been melding for eight weeks and counting. The Brown signing is claimed to be a result of injuries at the position, as Chris Godwin and Mike Evans have been battling through various setbacks this season, but nothing too major.

Brown’s history of being controversial also plays a part as well. His fall from grace in 2019 was a marvel to witness, something new came up every week involving Brown and an end didn’t seem anywhere near. His final weeks with the Pittsburgh Steelers led to him publicly outing multiple teammates, including QB Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers then traded him to the Buffalo Bills, but the deal fell through when Brown refused to play for Buffalo. Brown then was traded to the Oakland Raiders, where he then went through a meltdown phase where it seemed like he was intentionally trying to do anything to get kicked off the team, which ended up happening after multiple arguments with ownership and team staff. This all seemed like a ploy for Brown to sign with the New England Patriots to play with none other than Tom Brady. After one week, in which Brown caught a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins, Brown was released when sexual assault allegations against Brown came to the forefront.

Since then, Brown has attempted a career in music, in which he was unsuccessful (I seriously advise you to refrain from listening to any of his songs, for your ears’ well-being). He made an appearance on The Masked Singer as well. He’s also called out multiple players such as former teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster on Twitter, tweeting after the 2019 NFL Season, “Boo Boo Shoester was ready under 500 U Bum learn some Respect” in reference to Smith-Schuster finishing the season with only 552 receiving yards. In December of 2019, Brown attempted to start a campaign on Twitter entitled “No More White Woman 2020” in response to allegations against him that caused his long break from the NFL. Brown has also announced his retirement from the NFL more times than I care to remember, only to come back out of it every time.

With that being said, many could point to Brown’s stability in Tampa being similar to that of mixing bleach and ammonia. However, things may just be pointing in the right direction. Since his release from the Raiders, Brown has been dying to play with Tom Brady, which is why he signed in New England for a game in 2019. Brady’s presence on the Bucs is likely the main reason why Brown signed in Tampa rather than joining forces in Seattle with Russell Wilson. Brown has also recently found accommodation with Tom Brady in Tampa and has been living with the QB for the past week or so. Brady’s motive for this is that he’s “trying to be a great teammate, and help someone who is a friend of mine,” which hopefully bodes well, but there’s still many other players who Brown must get acquainted with if he wants his stay on the Buccaneers to be a long one.

I guess we’re just going to have to see come Sunday night, when Brown debuts in the Buccaneers’ high-stakes matchup with the New Orleans Saints.