Head coach Bruce Arians spoke to the media following the Bucs’ 45-20 victory over the Raiders on Sunday, taking questions for the first time since the Bucs signed wide receiver Antonio Brown on Friday night.

With Tampa Bay already having an incredibly talented group of offensive weapons at the team’s disposal, it posed an interesting question as to whether Brown’s talent outweighed the risk in taking on the off-the-field issues that he’s had in the past. Brown is currently serving an eight game suspension over allegations of misconduct as he has been accused of sexual assault.

Brown is eligible to attend team meetings on Wednesday in Tampa, and can practice with the team following the Bucs vs. Giants game next Monday night, prior to the New Orleans game after missing the first eight games of the season due to the suspension.

Arians responded to why the Bucs brought in the former All-Pro receiver, despite those issues.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown
Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“It’s an insurance policy,” Arians said. “When we don’t have Mike [Evans] and we don’t have Chris [Godwin,] why not have another Pro Bowl-caliber player that’s available and fits our cap and fits everything else? So why not? We have good players but you can’t have enough of them. In Chicago we had one of our top guys out there on one leg (Evans), why not have another one of them?”

Additionally, Arians commented on the potential of signing Brown back in March, saying that Brown was simply “not a fit here,” and this left people wondering whether his new quarterback Tom Brady – a former teammate of Brown’s during his one-game stint with New England last season – possibly had any influence in the decision. Brown had four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown against Miami in his lone action in 2019.

“I think he’s matured and I believe in second chances,” Arians said of Brown. “Everyone wants to say that Tom picked him, Tom didn’t have anything to do with it. This is something that Jason [Licht] and I have talked about for weeks, ever since the injuries to our other guys. And when the time was right, would we see if we could pull the trigger and fit it into what we want to get done and we’ll see. If Antonio does what I think what he’s going to do, he’s going to be fine.

“I think let the court system do it’s job. As far as the allegations, I’ve been around a lot of players who have allegations that weren’t true. Some were. So, let the court system handle it and if it’s found out the be true, he won’t be with us.”

The 32-year old Brown is a seven-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro and a Super Bowl champion, who was coached by Arians in Pittsburgh. Brown, who played his first nine seasons in Pittsburgh, has 841 career receptions for 11,263 yards (13.4 avg.) with 75 touchdowns, and played with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Bucs linebackers coach Larry Foote and offensive assistant Antwaan Randle El in Pittsburgh when they were his teammates.

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Art Penn
6 months ago

Smart move to grab Antonio before the Seahawks scooped him. We have the Saints and Chiefs coming soon and we will need all the healthy targets we can get.

6 months ago

Good analysis by Bruce. I understand this probably does not pan out. I get that. But the risk is minimal and the reward is substantial. Whether the odds are good that it works isn’t anywhere near as important as what is being risked versus what can be gained. It would be foolish to not roll the dice.

Last edited 6 months ago by PatrioticChief
6 months ago

Yes everyone freaked out, but I already posted when it first broke of course you sign him. If he acts up at that cheap a price you kick him to the curb. Evans and Godwin haven’t been able stay healthy all year and offense has struggled at times especially in Chicago. It’s called insurance people.

6 months ago

I don’t buy that this had nothing to do with Brady though. I think the Bears game scared them and that made them receptive to Brady’s campaign to bring him in.

6 months ago

Contract details that he only gets bonuses if we make the playoffs. It’s practically the lowest risk you can get. Let him prove he’s still great and can get along and let him work out his legal stuff on his time I guess. He does make it to where between Evans, Godwin, Miller Himself, Watson and now even Johnson, that we should be able to have 2-3 capable to Pro-Bowl receivers on the field at any time despite injuries. Injuries have already plagued us and we still have over half a season to go before playoffs (playoffs?!?!?!). I hope to… Read more »

6 months ago

I believe they have dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s in his contract, if Antonio doesn’t behave. That’s good enough for me.

6 months ago

I think it is about what they saw in the Bears game, but it at least to some extent this is a defensive move- keeps the Saints, Seahawks and others from signing him.

6 months ago

Tough: if the guy went to Seattle or NO he would get the ball thrown his way 10 x per game and so his whining would be limited and everyone would say “wow what a great pickup” . On our team he’ll be lucky to see a couple balls per game and he’s gong to whine like Martha’s Vineyard…and Evans is going to be unhappy (he’s already unhappy – that’s evident on his face in games), and so now yes you’ve prevented Seattle/NO from getting their best WR, but you’ve killed our team in the process….I would rather have let… Read more »

Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 months ago

This. We had a really good thing going with Evans and Godwin. Scotty Miller is only becoming more impactful with experience. Justin Watson probably needs more meaningful touches, he just looks uncomfortable when the ball comes his way. Tyler Johnson seems like he’ll develop into something reliable with some playing time. Best part was that there wasn’t a single diva in the room. At best, AB comes in and takes snaps and touches away from players