Antonio Brown Injury Update: When Will Buccaneers WR Return?

Written By Matt Burke on December 20, 2021

Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown was having a strong bounceback campaign before an ankle injury in mid-October put him on the shelf. Tampa Bay fans and fantasy football owners of Brown have been wondering for weeks as to when will Antonio Brown be back and return to the playing field? Here we will look at how long AB is expected to be out.

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When will Antonio Brown be back, return to Buccaneers?

Update: Brown was suspended three games by the NFL on Dec. 2 for “misrepresenting his vaccination status” under the league’s COVID-19 protocol. The next game he will be eligible to play in is the Buccaneers’ Week 16 game at the Panthers and it is likely that AB will suit up for Tampa Bay against Carolina. Tampa Bay lost its top two wide receivers to injury in a Sunday night loss to the Saints, so Brown’s return comes at the perfect time for Bruce Arians’ squad.

Plenty of fantasy football players are asking when will Antonio Brown be back and return to the field for the Bucs. Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians, who often gives out disinformation on the status of injured players, did tell The Athletic’s Greg Auman in late October that Brown’s injury could be “longterm.” Of course, that is as vague as it gets.

Brown was back at Buccaneers practice on Nov. 18, catching footballs from a JUGS machine but the WR is still not ready to go full tilt. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Dec. 1 that Brown will miss “at least” the next two games – at the Falcons and home versus the Bills. Schefter had reported on Nov. 20 that Brown had “a real chance” to return in Week 13 against the Colts but that ultimately did not happen. Here are the new potential return dates for Brown to be back.

  • Sunday, Dec. 26: Week 16 at Panthers
  • Sunday, Jan. 2: Week 17 at Jets
  • Sunday, Jan. 2: Week 18 vs. Panthers

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The length of Browns absence is a curious once considering that the Buccaneers never placed him in IR. Arians said that Brown has an “ankle sprain near his heel.” Recovery time from a high ankle sprain can take anywhere from six weeks to three months, according to

The bad news for fantasy football owners of Brown is that the Buccaneers are in no rush to get the dynamic slot receiver back in the lineup soon, as they are coasting toward a top seed in the NFC. Tampa Bay also has a cupcake schedule down the stretch, and make decide they don’t need Brown to win many of these games.

Buccaneers odds

The Buccaneers remain one of the favorites to win this season’s Super Bowl. The defending champs have odds to hoist the Lombardi Trophy once again. Tampa Bay is to earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

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Matt Burke

Matt Burke is the Sports Editor and Head of Evergreen/SEO Content at He is the Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of MetroBet, a digital and print sports betting platform, and was the Executive Sports Editor at Metro US Newspapers (New York, Philadelphia, Boston) from 2014-2020. Matt has covered Super Bowls and Final Fours, and his work has appeared for Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, the Eagle Tribune, Gloucester Daily Times and Newburyport Daily News. Matt is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.

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