The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set at wide receiver. Head coach Bruce Arians ended any speculation the team would sign Antonio Brown, saying Brown was “not a fit here” on Thursday.
Discussion of Brown going to the Bucs has been rampant after the team signed Tom Brady to a two-year deal earlier this month. Prior to Brady joining the Bucs, there were reports he wanted to reunite with Brown. The two played one game together before Brown was cut by the New England Patriots last season.
If Brady truly wants to play with Brown in Tampa Bay, he’s not going to get his wish. Arians definitively shut down that talk Thursday while appearing on the “Tiki and Tierney Show” on CBS radio, according to ESPN.
“Yeah, it’s not gonna happen,” Arians said. “There’s no room. And probably not enough money. But it’s not gonna happen — it’s not a fit here.”
When pressed on the issue, Arians again stated Brown wasn’t coming to Tampa Bay, saying “Yeah, I just know him, and — it’s not a fit in our locker room,” according to ESPN. Arians and Brown overlapped with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010 and 2011. Arians was the team’s offensive coordinator those seasons.
Antonio Brown is trying to get back to the NFL in 2020
While the 31-year-old Brown has talent on the field, he’s had far too many off-field issues for teams to show interest. Brown was cut by the Patriots after just one game last season after he was accused of rape by his former personal trainer. Since then, Brown was involved in an alleged battery incident at his home and was accused of sexual misconduct by another woman.
In February, Brown attempted to get back in the good graces of the NFL. He went on an apology tour, telling the Steelers, the league and Ben Roethlisberger — Brown’s former quarterback — that he was sorry for how he acted.
That apology tour hasn’t resulted in Brown finding a team yet. It certainly didn’t win over Arians.
Do the Buccaneers need Antonio Brown?
If Brown has changed, he would be a significant signing for any team. Brown was on pace to be one of the best — if not the best — ever at his position. But if there was any team that can afford to pass on Brown, it might be the Bucs.
Tampa Bay already has a dominant receiving tandem in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The team also has two strong receiving threats at tight end in Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. Brown would help, but offensive weapons aren’t the team’s biggest need. Defense is a much larger concern.
There’s no guarantee, of course, that you’re getting a remorseful and dedicated version of Brown. Despite Brown’s apologies, Arians knows as much, and would rather approach the situation with caution.
Considering what’s on the line for Arians, Brady and the Bucs, bringing in Brown isn’t worth the risk. The other 31 teams agree, at least for now.
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