NFL Mulled 6-8 Game Ban For Antonio Brown

Earlier this week, the NFL hit Antonio BrownMike Edwards, and free agent defensive back John Franklin III with three-game bans for violating COVID-19 protocols. Initially, however, the league was considering six-to-eight game suspensions for those players (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). 

[RELATED: NFL Suspends Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards]

An eight-game ban would have trickled into the playoffs for Brown and Edwards. Thanks to NFLPA negotiations, both players will have a chance to return in a few weeks. According to Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, it’s not a given that Brown will be activated straight away, and Pelissero hears that’s legitimate. The team first wants to ensure that Brown is focused on football and adhering to the league’s rules. Beyond that, there’s also a non-trivial chance that the players could be facing legal entanglements, since falsifying vaccination cards is a federal crime.

Brown, 33, has been productive on the field, but he’s missed time thanks to a lingering ankle injury and time on the COVID list. Before the suspension, Brown was on pace for another 1,000-yard season with 29 grabs for 418 yards and two touchdowns in five games. Now, he’ll finish shy of that mark for a third straight year.

If the Bucs welcome Brown back immediately after the suspension, he’ll retake the field on Dec. 26th against the Panthers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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