The knee injury Antonio Brown suffered against the Saints will keep him out of Sunday’s Buccaneers-Packers game. The Bucs ruled out their hired-gun wideout for the NFC championship game.
Brown has not shown too much of his Steelers-era form this season but has certainly proven valuable for the Bucs, who have assembled one of the highest-profile skill-position cadres in recent NFL history. Brown’s absence will mean more work for younger players Scott Miller and Tyler Johnson alongside Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski. Brown did not practice this week.
“I just talked to him this morning, and to put him on the plane and fly up there and have it swell more doesn’t make any sense,” Bruce Arians said Friday, via ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine. “He wasn’t as close as we’d hoped, so we’ll get him ready for the next one.”
For the season, the 32-year-old receiver caught 45 passes for 483 yards and four touchdowns. Brown’s best game came in Week 17, when the Bucs lost Evans to a knee injury. Evans did not miss any additional time, returning for Tampa Bay’s playoff opener in Washington. Like Evans, Brown did not suffer serious structural damage. Should the Bucs upset the Packers, Brown would have two weeks to recover before what would be the second Super Bowl of his career.
The Bucs had not yet signed Brown when they routed the Packers in Week 6. Miller took a backseat to Brown once the Bucs signed the polarizing talent but put together a 501-yard season (15.2 per catch). A rookie fifth-rounder, Johnson added 169 yards and two TDs off the bench this season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.