Brown won’t play in NFC title game

by Gary Shelton on January 23, 2021

in general

Brown won't play for Bucs on Sunday./TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Compared to some of his other seasons, this one was a small one for Antonio Brown.

On the other hand, he was good enough for this. It's bad news that he won't play in Sunday's NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers.

Remember, this was the receiver the Bucs said they didn't need because of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Yet, Brown was a solid third receiver for Tampa Bay, catching 45 passes for 483 yards in eight games. He's caught three more for 59 yards in the post-season.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

Factor that over 16 games, and Brown has made a solid contribution. But unless the Bucs can beat the Packers Sunday, that may be over. The Bucs have announced that Brown will miss the title game.

“I just talked to him this morning and to put him on the plane, have him fly up there and have it swell more doesn’t make any sense,
Bucs' coach Bruce Arians said. "He wasn’t as close as we had hoped, so we’ll get him ready for the next one.” 

For Brown, it has been a season of rebuilding after he was ejected from the NFL. Even now, the court will have a statement to make on Brown's future.

But in flashes, Brown has shown that he still can play. Against Atlanta, he caught 11 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

“I think we’re going to have to find a way to win," said quarterback Tom Brady. "It obviously sucks for Antonio. We all wish he could be out there with us. Other guys are going to have to step up and do the job. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the guys who haven’t been in there as much when A.B. has been in there. We wish everybody could play. We’ve lost a few guys over the course of the season. It’s a great game to play in. You would want everyone to play in this game. We’re going to have to figure out a way to win regardless.”

Brady will still have Evans and Godwin, plus Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate, Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson. The loss of Brown won't determine winning or losing.

For Brady, it will be the 14th conference title of his career.

“I just try to do the best I can do to show up everyday with a good attitude, work hard and do what my job is," Brady said. "It’s been fun just being here and I had a great time in New England, as well. I’ve had a great 21 years. I’m a very blessed and lucky guy. The fact that I’m still playing football, for me, is a blessing. I’ve had a lot of great teammates that I’ve played with over the years and a great group this year. That’s the best part about football is all of the relationships you have. It’s been a fun year doing it.”

Brady says the game remains the same as his early days.

"I think the fundamentals of football have stayed pretty much the same," Brady said. "There have been some rule changes and so forth, but the team that is most prepared, has the best fundamentals and executes under pressure is the one that wins. I don’t think that changes. I think you can run different schemes and routes. No one has really reinvented the game. It’s probably more of a skill contest now than probably what it used to be. There is probably not as much contact. It’s still a very physical game, but probably more skill than power. It probably used to be as much power as skill and now it’s probably more about quickness and on how things are being called. That’s probably the only real difference.

"Again, I try to show up everyday with a positive attitude to work hard and do my job. Like I said, I’ve got a lot of great teammates [and] great coaches that do the same. The rewarding part in a team sport is that we’re all showing up together with the same goal in mind. How you work through adversity is a great thing. You’re always going to be challenged in football and in life and how you work through those things, how you communicate through them [and] how you inspire each other to be the best that you can be – that’s the best part about sports. That’s why I’m still playing.”

The Packers are a 3.5-point favorite in Sunday's game, which is scheduled to begin at 3:05 p.m.

Previous post:

Next post: