Bucs' Bruce Arians says Antonio Brown returning after fake vax card incident is 'in the best interest' of team

Arians told reporters after the 9-0 loss against the New Orleans Saints that Brown and safety Mike Edwards would rejoin the team after serving a three-game suspension for using fake vaccination cards.  

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“It’s in the best interest of our football team,” he said, via The Athletic’s Greg Auman. “Both of those guys have served their time and we’ll welcome them back.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) makes a catch and goes the distance for the score during the regular season game between the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 10, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) makes a catch and goes the distance for the score during the regular season game between the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 10, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brown and Edwards, along with free agent John Franklin III, were suspended for three games for violating the league’s health and safety protocols. Brown was accused in a Tampa Bay Times report last month of acquiring a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to avoid the NFL’s health and safety protocols. 

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receiver Mike Evans (13) is congratulated for scoring a touchdown by Antonio Brown (81) during the regular season game between the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 10, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receiver Mike Evans (13) is congratulated for scoring a touchdown by Antonio Brown (81) during the regular season game between the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 10, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The decision to welcome Brown back comes as the Bucs lost two top wide receivers to injuries in Sunday night’s game. 

Wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were ruled out of the game in the first half after suffering hamstring and knee injuries, while running back Leonard Fournette, one Brady’s favorite offensive weapons, was ruled out with a hamstring injury in the third quarter. 

Leonard Fournette #7 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is helped off the field after an injury during the quarter of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Dec. 19, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. 

Leonard Fournette #7 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is helped off the field after an injury during the quarter of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Dec. 19, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.  (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The incident involving Brown has raised concerns regarding a comment Arians previously made upon signing the embattled NFL player back in 2020, when he sternly said, “He screws up one time, he’s gone.” 

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