Antonio Brown was suspended for three games back on Dec. 2 following the discovery that Brown was using a fake vaccination card, and therefore, misrepresenting about his vaccination status.
This news came as a shock to the NFL because back in September, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians had announced that the team was 100% vaccinated. Mike Edwards and former Buc John Franklin III also mispresented his vaccination status and were suspended.
The suspicion of whether or not Brown’s vaccination card was real or not began after his former chef Steven Ruiz accused Brown of obtaining a fake vaccination card to dodge the NFL’s COVID rules. At the time, Brown’s lawyer fought back saying that Brown was vaccinated. An investigation was launched to look into the verification of the cards, and that’s when it was determined that the three players had forged their cards.
MORE: Antonio Brown suspension
Providing a fake vaccination card not only breaks NFL rules, but it is also now a federal crime. It is unknown what other punishments the three players could receive.
By missing three games, Brown stands to forfeit about $183,000 in salary.
Is Antonio Brown playing on ‘Sunday Night Football’?
Brown’s suspension is not up yet, so he will not be able to play on Sunday night vs. the Saints. The Buccaneers will rely on their other two starting wide receivers, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, in Brown’s absense.
When will Antonio Brown return?
As of now, Brown’s three-game suspension ends after the Saints game. That means he will be eligible to return on Sunday, Dec. 26 when the Buccaneers face the Panthers.
However, during Arians’ Monday press conference, he was asked whether or not he will allow Brown back on the team come Week 16. At the time, he said the organization had not made its decision yet, and they plan to make it in the week leading up to the game.
“I haven’t made that determination yet, but we’ll see how it goes,” Arians said, via ESPN .”It’s just a matter of making a statement. And whether I do it before [the Saints] game or after, we’ll wait and see. But I don’t want anything to be distracting from this game.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday that Brown and Edwards are expected to return to the Buccaneers on Monday, Dec. 20, although Arians has not officially said if this is true or not.