- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are adding controversial wide receiver Antonio Brown.
- After reports suggested that Tom Brady pushed for the move to reunite with Brown, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said he got approval from every veteran on the player to add Brown.
- Arians previously said the team would not sign Brown but said the circumstances changed after their top wide receivers were injured.
- Brown is finishing an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s code of conduct policy but is still being investigated after his former trainer accused him of rape in a lawsuit.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians pushed back on the notion that Tom Brady drove the team’s signing of Antonio Brown.
“This move wasn’t made without me talking to every single one of our veteran players. ‘Do you want this guy? Do you want this guy in our locker room?’ Every man said yes,” Arians told NBC’s Peter King.
News of the Bucs adding Brown, the 31-year-old wide receiver, broke on Friday. Soon thereafter, reports surfaced that Brady had pushed for the signing.
CBS’s Jason La Canfora reported that Brady had been “pushing” for the Bucs to sign Brown. With Brown nearing eligibility after an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, Brady was reportedly “very vocal” about reuniting with Brown. The pair played one game together with the New England Patriots in 2019 before the Patriots cut Brown after allegedly sending threatening text messages to a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.
Brown was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in March 2019. After forcing his way off the Raiders through a series of incidents that included a verbal dispute with GM Mike Mayock, he joined the Patriots. After signing with the Patriots, Brown’s former trainer accused him of rape in a lawsuit. Brown denied the allegations.
Brown was later arrested on charges of felony burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, and criminal mischief connected to an incident involving a moving truck driver he had hired in Hollywood, Florida.
Shortly after a court appearance, Brown went on an apology tour, hoping to get back into the NFL.
The NFL is still investigating the allegations against Brown.
Bruce Arians had said “no” to Brown, but circumstances have changed
“It’s not gonna happen. There’s no room,” Arians had said on the “Tiki and Tierney” show. “Probably not enough money, but it’s just not gonna happen. It’s just not a fit here.”
Arians was an offensive coordinator with the Steelers and worked with Brown.
“I just know him, and it’s not a fit in our locker room,” Arians said.
However, Arians told King that circumstances changed when the Bucs top receiving options, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, got hurt during the 2020 season. Both are on the field now, but Arians said they are playing through injuries and “hurting.”
“I know everybody wants to say Tom Brady lobbied us to get this done,” Arians said. “Tom Brady lobbied me back in, gosh, June, July, August. I said no. It didn’t fit then.
“Now, we’re in the hunt. I owe it to the rest of my players â€” if there’s a guy that fits our salary cap cheap, who’s a Pro Bowl-type player, let’s bring him on our squad. Who says he has to start? I mean, we just got another Pro Bowl player to put in if one of those guys go down.”
Arians also told reporters that he believes Brown has “matured” and will work to fit in with the Bucs locker room.
Regarding the investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Brown, Arians said he would let the court system do the work.
“Let the court system handle it. If it’s found out to be true, he won’t be with us.”
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