The Bucs are getting healthier, but wide receiver Antonio Brown is not among those who returned to practice on Wednesday. Brown was spotted at practice with a crutch on the sideline. Head coach Bruce Arians was asked after practice if the veteran receiver could be back after the Bucs Week 9 bye week.
“Shoot, with that injury, who knows?” Arians said. “It could be [after the Week 9 bye], it could be a long time. It’s just wait and see how the foot [heals]. He’s still on a crutch. It’s still considering an ankle sprain, but it’s around his heel.”
In any event, it seems Brown won’t be available for the Bucs against the Saints on Sunday. The All-Pro receiver erupted to a hot start this season, catching 29 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns in five games, but will miss his third contest of the year. Brown was matching Mike Evans and Chris Godwin’s production despite playing a fraction of their snaps.
Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: USA Today
The 12-year veteran’s injury is compounded by Scotty Miller’s presence on injured reserve. Miller was seen running on the side during Wednesday’s practice, but is unlikely to return before the bye week. Instead, second-year receiver Tyler Johnson will need to step up. Johnson has managed just nine catches for 126 yards and no touchdowns in 2021. As a rookie, the fifth rounder grabbed 12 passes for 169 yards and two scores.
Some good news for the Bucs offense is the return of Rob Gronkowski to practice. His presence should allow the Bucs to play more two-tight end sets without losing much in the passing game. Still, Brown’s loss will be tough to overcome. After Week 8, Brown will have until November 14 to recover. That’s exactly one month from the date of his original injury. Until then, Bucs fans will hold out hope for a Week 10 return for the star receiver.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.