Antonio Brown got to play one game for the New England Patriots alongside Tom Brady last season, but as the latest rumors suggest, a reunion doesn’t seem to be in the cards, now that the six-time Super Bowl winner is with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In a tweet posted on Tuesday afternoon, ESPN’s Dianna Russini cited sources familiar with the situation, succinctly stating that the Buccaneers are “not interested” in Brown, who has been a free agent since the Patriots released him early in the 2019 season. This update came just hours after multiple rumors circulated regarding the possibility of the free-agent wide receiver signing with Tampa Bay ahead of the 2020 NFL season.
On Monday evening, JT The Brick of Mad Dog Sports Radio was the first to report on the above rumor, noting on Twitter that he’s heard Brown might be signing with the Buccaneers. This was later retweeted by The Athletic’s Michael Lombardi, who wrote the next morning that he’s heard “the same thing.” But with Russini suggesting that the team doesn’t seem interested after all, Bleacher Report noted that the new update “should not come as much of a surprise,” given the comments made by Bucs head coach Bruce Arians on the CBS Sports Network earlier this year.
“Yeah, it’s not gonna happen,” Arians said in March, as quoted by the publication. “There’s no room. And probably not enough money. But it’s not gonna happen — it’s not a fit here.”
— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) June 30, 2020
Prior to those remarks, Arians also commented on the possibility of Brown moving to Tampa Bay early last year when he had just signed with the Buccaneers as their new head coach. At that time, he was quoted as saying on the Adam Schefter Show that there’s too much “diva” in Brown, who was still with the Pittsburgh Steelers and months away from the controversies that derailed his 2019 season.
“I like Antonio — he plays as hard as anybody on Sunday, and he practices hard. He’s just gotta make better decisions off the field, be on time, do some of those little things.”
During his first nine seasons in the NFL, Brown became a top-flight wide receiver with the Steelers, scoring 74 receiving touchdowns and tallying 11,207 receiving yards with Pittsburgh. He was then traded to the then-Oakland Raiders in March 2019 but didn’t play a regular-season down for the team, which released him due to multiple off-field issues. The Patriots signed him as a free agent almost immediately after but released him following just one game in September as assault allegations from his former trainer became public around that time.