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Report: Antonio Brown “is expected” to rejoin the Buccaneers on Monday

Mike Florio and Myles Simmons look ahead to all the biggest news around the NFL in Week 15, including the Buccaneers big matchup against the New Orleans Saints and an AFC showdown between the Steelers and Titans.

He screws up one time, he’s gone.”

Maybe Bruce Arians meant two times when he made that vow regarding receiver Antonio Brown, who joined the team in October 2020.

With Brown due to return from a three-game suspension on Monday after his fake vaccination card scam fell apart when he failed to pay a former live-in chef who then blew the whistle on the ruse, he “is expected” to rejoin the Buccaneers on Monday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

The choice of words -- “is expected” -- is curious. If it was a 100-percent proposition, the word used would be “will.”

On Friday, coach Bruce Arians suggested in a press conference that a decision has been made regarding Brown and safety Mike Edwards (who also was suspended for submitted a phony card), but that it wouldn’t be announced until after Sunday night’s game between New Orleans and Tampa Bay, in order to avoid creating a distraction. As noted at the time, news of an impending return wouldn’t be a distraction. News of a looming release would be.

Assuming that “is expected” comes to fruition, keep in mind the possibility that the Buccaneers will keep Brown on ice for the balance of the regular season. This will keep him from hitting incentives that begin with his next touchdown, and payment of $333,333.

It’s also possible that Arians knew all along that he’d bring back Brown and Edwards, and that the coach used the uncertainty in order to send a message. A clear message. An important message. Like, you know, “He screws up one time, he’s gone.”

Well, maybe some other message.