There was a time when many believed that Antonio Brown wouldn’t play another down in the NFL. Now, he’s rapidly becoming a fan favorite and one of the leaders in targets during training camp. Yes, it feels like the media is talking about AB around the clock, but if thing continue trending like they are it very well could become one of the feel good stories of the 2021 season.
Early in practice, Brown was by the sideline where the fans are located and a large group of them screamed “AB!” in unison, resulting in a wave and a smile from number 81. Later, during 11-on-11 drills, Brown was left virtually uncovered and quarterback Tom Brady found him;
Brady finds AB deep, he adjusts to make the catch, makes some guys miss, and gets to the end zone. The crowd is loving them some Antonio Brown— Locked On Bucs (@LockedOnBucs) August 9, 2021
Brown looks to be as quick, elusive, and effective as he’s ever been - and for the Bucs, that’s good news.
Having a full training camp and the appropriate amount of time to learn the offense while working on it with his teammates is a huge reason for the early success we’re seeing in camp. Brown acknowledged as much when he spoke with the media following practice on Monday;
Antonio Brown says he’s “super grateful” to have a full offseason with Bucs after joining team in midseason last year. pic.twitter.com/aDZ6xqDEef— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 9, 2021
With all the attention he’s receiving and the praise he’s getting, there’s no doubt that a lot of attention will be placed on Antonio Brown this season. That said, he may very well end up the team’s leading receiver with the way he’s currently playing as well as targeted. That’s no slight on Mike Evans or Chris Godwin, just the reality of the situation. We all know that Evans and Godwin are the one and two, but so do opposing defenses. That leaves the opportunity for Brown to explode this season and it’s something that is more likely to happen by the day.
Bruce Arians said WR Antonio Brown is playing at a speed he was at 4-5 years ago.— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) August 9, 2021
Antonio Brown saying repeatedly how grateful he is to be where he is now, getting a chance to do what he loves. He says he's excited to write a new chapter in his life.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) August 9, 2021
Say what you will about his past, say what you will about his off field issues. This is a guy that appears to have finally gotten it. He’s busting his butt every play, every day to help the Buccaneers be a better football team with the realization that he could lose it at any moment as he came so close to doing less than a year ago.
“This is the time you earn your keep and I’m just trying to earn it,” Brown said to the media on Monday.
So far, so good.