While Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has hinted that newly signed free agent receiver Antonio Brown could be brought along slowly in terms of playing time, some who have spoken to Tampa quarterback Tom Brady doubt it actually plays out that way.
There is a strong sense among many in that organization that Brady will be featuring the former All Pro "early and often" against the Saints this weekend. Brady is uniquely invested in Brown's production, as the driving force behind his signing there, and has personally vouched for the oft-troubled player's behavior as well, sources said, vowing to keep a close eye on him as he lives in Brady's guest house.
Brown's issues are long and well documented but he shined in one game with Brady in New England last year and Brady has wanted to reunite with him since. Several sources indicated they anticipate Brown being featured frequently when he gets on the field with Brady looking to establish him in that offense.
"He's going to be involved early, bank on it," said one source with knowledge of the situation. "BA (Coach Bruce Arians) might have a pitch count in mind, but we'll see how that goes."
"AB is his guy," said another source with knowledge of the situation. "He's going to see the ball."
In many ways, Brady has staked his reputation on Brown's redemption, on the field and off it, and expect him to be showing up in the box score pretty quickly during a rematch with the Saints with first place in the NFC South, and a potential first-round bye, on the line.