Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that the NFL was initially considering longer suspensions for Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown and DB Mike Edwards between 6-8 games, which would have kept them out for some of the playoffs.
However, the two parties settled on three-game suspensions in the end with the players agreeing to forgo the appeals process.
Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said they play to talk about their situation once their suspensions are up. Pelissero explains that the Bucs want to evaluate how Brown handles this situation and whether there’s fallout in terms of legal action against the players for obtaining fake vaccination cards.
Pelissero reached out to the U.S. Department of Justice who declined to comment on this specific case. Although, they did refer Pelissero to other cases where they have prosecuted people for fake vaccination cards.
Last month, Brown’s former live-in chef, Steven Ruiz, claimed the receiver obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card so he could avoid NFL protocols.
Brown’s girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, told Ruiz in a text message this past July that Brown was willing to pay $500 for a Johnson & Johnson vaccination card. Ruiz says that Brown wanted Johnson & Johnson vaccine card because it consists of a single shot and would require less paperwork.
Ruiz said he was unable to get Brown a fake vaccination card. A few weeks later, Ruiz claims Brown showed him fake vaccination cards that he purchased for himself and Moreau.
Tom Brady‘s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero later stopped by Brown’s house the same night to help with Brown’s rehab from a knee injury and took a photograph of Brown’s vaccination card while he was there. The Bucs allowed Guerrero and others to take photos of cards and send them to head trainer Bobby Slater and eventually to their infection control officer.
Ruiz mentioned that he believes Guerrero was unaware that the card was fake.
Brown and Ruiz reportedly had a falling out over an uncollected debt of $10,000.
Brown, 33, is a former sixth-round pick of the Steelers back in 2010. He was in the third year of his five-year, $72.71 million contract when the Steelers traded him to the Raiders back in March.
The Raiders later signed Brown to a new contract worth $50.125 million and includes $30.125 million guaranteed. However, Oakland made the decision to release Brown before the start of the season and he later signed a one-year deal worth up to $15 million with the Patriots.
Brown lasted just 11 days in New England. The Buccaneers signed him to a one-year deal worth up to $2.5 million last year and re-signed him to another one-year extension this offseason.
In 2021, Brown has appeared in five games and recorded 29 receptions for 418 yards (14.4 YPC) and four touchdowns.