Three weeks ago today, Antonio Brown‘s agent told multiple reporters that the veteran receiver had agreed to terms on a return to the Buccaneers. However, Brown has not yet returned to the Buccaneers.
Appearing Tuesday on the Pewter Report Podcast, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday that Brown’s re-signing has been delayed by the fact that Brown has a knee injury that requires surgery.
“He has to pass the physical,” Arians said. “Hopefully we’ll have a scope on Tuesday, he’s getting his knee cleaned out, and everything will work out fine. It’s just a matter of a physical.”
It’s unclear why Brown didn’t have the procedure at some point between the conclusion of Super Bowl LV (in which he played) and now. He dealt with a knee injury during the postseason, missing the NFC Championship due to it. It’s possible that surgery has been necessary all along. It’s also possible that something has happened since Super Bowl LV to make surgery necessary.
It’s also unclear whether Brown showed up for a physical and failed it, necessitating the surgery.
“We wanted AB back,” Arians said. “He was a model citizen the whole time he’s been here. We wanted him back and he’s never had surgery in his life. It’s just a matter of [getting a] physical done. I wanted him back the whole time.”
Arians is downplaying the situation. A chance remains that the glass isn’t half full on this one. Although every surgery on every NFL player is instantly declared a success and every NFL player who has any surgery is instantly declared to be ahead of schedule in his return, Brown (who turns 33 on July 10) has to recover from the procedure and get himself to the point where he can pass a physical.
Unless and until Brown passes a physical, he’s not a member of the Buccaneers. Maybe it really is no big deal. But consider this: Other than last year, when the pandemic complicated significantly the process of taking physicals, how often does it take more than three weeks before a player who has agreed to terms takes and passes a physical?