Coming off a disheartening loss to the Saints, the Bucs need some positive news. Tampa Bay fell to 10-4 and lost four of their best players to injury. Wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, running back Leonard Fournette and linebacker Lavonte David all went down with injuries. However, the good news is that Antonio Brown will be back next week against the Panthers. Fresh off a 3-game suspension for using a fake vaccination card, the Bucs opted not to cut Brown after all.
“Yeah, it’s in the best interest of our football team,” Arians said. “Both of those guys have served their time and we’ll welcome them back.”
Brown and safety Mike Edwards have missed the past three games. In the meantime, the Bucs have weathered an injury to Jordan Whitehead and lost Evans, Godwin, Breshad Perriman (COVID), Antoine Winfield, Jamel Dean and Richard Sherman. Depending on injuries, Brown and Edwards could step right into playing 100 percent of snaps in Week 16.
Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: USA Today
Brown has played in just five games this season, catching 29 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns. Edwards still leads the team in interceptions with three this season, to go with 34 tackles and a forced fumble. Arians had left it open-ended whether the duo would be back on the team or not following their suspensions. However, it’s been widely assumed for weeks that Brown and Edwards would return.
The Bucs won’t know more about the injuries to Godwin and Evans until more testing is done. For now, the team believes Godwin may have avoided major injury. In place of the three star receivers, the Bucs depth struggled mightily against the Saints. They’ll need some talent back against a quality Panthers secondary.