Antonio Brown, a Buccaneer receiver, suspended three games after dismalifying vaccination status
Antonio Brown and two other NFL players have been suspended for three games by the league for violating COVID-19 regulations.
The Tampa Bay wide receiver and teammate Mike Edwards were suspended on Thursday, and free agent John Franklin III, if signed by a team, is also ineligible to play in the next three games.
All three players have taken a stand and went out on their right of appeal. The suspensions are effective immediately.
During a review of the recent allegations that players misrepresented their vaccination status, The NFL Players Association, which developed the protocols with the league, represented the three players. Brown, Edwards, a cornerback, and Franklin, a defensive back who last played for the Bucs in 2019, were found in violation of the protocols.
The NFL and NFLPA shared a statement on Thursday that the protocols were developed together with our respective experts to ensure that we are practicing and playing football as safe as possible during the ongoing epidemic. The NFL and NFLPA reiterate their engagement and further emphasize the importance of strict compliance to the protocols to safeguard the well-being of everyone involved with the NFL."
The Buccaneers issued a brief statement in response to the league action.
We appreciate the league's rapid treatment of this issue and recognize the importance of the established health and safety protocols, the statement stated. We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols.
Brown joined Tampa Bay midway through last season after serving an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct legislation. He also helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history.
The 33-year-old receiver, who has 29 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns this season, has missed the previous five games with an ankle injury. He also sat out the team's Week 3 defeat to the Los Angeles Rams after testing positive for COVID-19.
When The Bucs (8-3) plays this season, he is 5-0, 3-3 without him.
Edwards, on the other hand, is a backup safety who's started two games and has been a key contributor on a defense riddled by injuries. The third-year pro leads the club with three interceptions, two of which he's returned for TDs.
The suspensions come two weeks after a Los Angeles chef informed the Tampa Bay Times that Brown had a fake COVID-19 vaccination card shortly before the start of training camp in July. The newspaper reported that Steven Ruiz provided a screenshot of a text message exchange in which Brown's girlfriend asked the player's former live-in chef if he could obtain Johnson & Johnson vaccination cards.
When the personal chef replied he could try, the girlfriend replied, Ab said he would give you $500.
Ruiz told the newspaper that he couldn't locate a vaccination card for Brown, who also claimed Brown had a debt of $10,000.
The chef noted that two vaccination cards were discovered for the player and his girlfriend a few weeks later on a dining table table.
The Bucs announced shortly before the start of the regular season that their entire roster and coaching personnel were fully immunized.
Without addressing Brown's concerns particularly, the Bucs told two weeks ago that the team had received and reviewed completed vaccination cards from all players, and no irregularities were observed.
Vikings get a boost when they get a boost.
The Vikings have unveiled defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson from the COVID-19 reserve list, a welcome boost for their depleted defense.
Tomlinson was back at practice after sitting out ten days after retiring from his five-year NFL career. He missed the game at San Francisco last week, the first absence of his five-year career.
The Vikings also got defensive tackle Michael Pierce back at practice this week, securing him return from injured reserve. He has missed the previous seven games with an elbow injury.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson landed on the COVID-19 reserve list Monday, placing his status for the game at Detroit Sunday in doubt. Defensive end Danielle Hunter (pectoral) is out for the season. Everson Griffen is out indefinitely following a mental health issue that occurred at his home last week.