Tom Brady won't have his full stable of offensive weapons when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the field against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Former All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown suffered a knee injury in the team's victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, but there was reportedly no serious damage found when Brown underwent an MRI on Monday. He was listed by head coach Bruce Arians as day-to-day, but didn't participate in practice this week and Arians has now officially ruled him out against the Packers.
Brown joined the Buccaneers after an added eight-game suspension that dovetailed on the indefinite suspension he was set to be reinstated from in 2020. There's no need to rehash the laundry list of challenges he faced in getting back in the league this season, because we'd literally be here all day. What you'll want to key in on is the fact Brady (although he denies it) convinced Arians to give the mercurial wideout a shot, and so it happened -- Brown heading to Tampa to rejoin Brady after the two spent an abbreviated breath of a moment together with the New England Patriots.
Things got off to a slow start for Brown, which shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone, considering his time away from the game and the fact Brady wasn't lacking for weapons, but he and Brady found chemistry late in the regular season. His 138-yard, two-touchdown breakout game helped lift the Bucs to a critical comeback victory against the rival Atlanta Falcons in December, and served as a reminder that Brown still has a ton of fuel left in his tank. All told, Brown scored five touchdowns in the last six games after having scored none in his first five with the club, evidence he'd gone from a work-in-progress to a weekly target to be feared.
He was set to potentially give the Packers defense some problems, but they won't have to contend with him now. All Brown can hope is that the Buccaneers advance to Super Bowl LV, to give him a shot at returning this season and a chance for the 32-year-old to land his first ever NFL championship -- in what would be only the second Super Bowl appearance of his troubled career.
In Brown's absence, the Bucs will ask more of No. 1 receiver Mike Evans but more so of his supporting cast, with many eyes being on Chris Godwin to see if he'll fix his issues with ill-timed drops with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.