Just a year ago, Antonio Brown’s future in the NFL was shaky at best. The four-time All-Pro wide receiver faced a half-season suspension under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and hadn’t played a game since 2018, casting serious doubt on if he could get back onto the field and produce at all.
Brown landed on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who gave him another opportunity after he served out his eight-game suspension. Once he returned, he provided Tom Brady with a reliable veteran target, snagging 45 passes for 483 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season. He also scored in the Buccaneers Super Bowl win last February.
This offseason, Brown has focused on getting his off-the-field matters in order. He reached a settlement with his former trainer, who had accused him of sexually assaulting her in a civil suit filed in 2019. He also had his felony probation, stemming from an incident with a delivery truck driver, terminated a year early due to good conduct.
Now that the bulk of his off-the-field controversies seems to be in the past, Brown has turned his focus wholly to football. As the Buccaneers ramp up for their season opener in just a month, the 33-year-old is eager to move forward in Tampa.
“I’m just excited to be done with this stuff from the past,” Brown said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. “It’s a new chapter for me. I’m excited to write it. I’m excited to be here.”
One year ago, without a team and preparing to serve an eight-game suspension, Antonio Brown didn’t know if he’d ever get to play football again. After settling in with the Bucs, he said the biggest lesson he’s taken from the last year has been gratitude https://t.co/m89iKyfbmh
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) August 9, 2021
Brown is just one of the many members of last year’s Super Bowl roster to be back in Tampa Bay this fall. The Buccaneers seem set up for another run to the NFC playoffs, provided that everyone stays healthy and on the field.
Brown signed a one-year deal worth up to $6.5 million, with $3.1 million guaranteed to stay in place for the 2021 season. So long as he can show that he’s truly turned the page to a new chapter, the Buccaneers should be able to rely on him in big moments this year.
“Life last year was uncertain. A lot of uncertainty,” Brown said Monday. “Would I even get the chance to play football, being suspended? I always remember at that point last year where I was at to make sure I appreciate [this]. Having the right respect and being grateful that I’m at this point right here. I’ve got all my goals in front of me and an opportunity to do what I love. There’s a lot I can appreciate now.”
“I’ve just learned to appreciate the position I’m in. Keep the right perspective. And stay grateful. A.P.G. Appreciation – appreciate the opportunity I get to do what I love. Keeping the right perspective. Knowing it’s bigger than me. … And just being grateful. Grateful to do what I love…”
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