Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has made no decisions on the futures of wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Mike Edwards and has no plans to address the players' situations further until they return from their three-game suspensions for violation of NFL/NFL Players Association COVID-19 protocols.
"Obviously we have two guys suspended," Arians began his news conference Friday. "The league did their due diligence and we move on. I will not address those guys for the next three weeks. They'll just be working out and we'll address their future at that time. Other than that, there's really nothing to say."
Arians' comments come a day after Brown, Edwards and free-agent wide receiver John Franklin III, a former Buccaneer, were issued their suspensions as a result of a review finding all three misrepresented their vaccination status.
The suspensions take effect immediately with Brown and Edwards eligible to return to Tampa Bay for the team's Week 16 game against the Panthers on Dec. 26.
Arians underscored that his focus was on Sunday and playing the NFC South-rival Atlanta Falcons.
"It's a big, big game for us. It's a division game on the road," Arians said. "I know everybody wants the other story, but we're playing the Falcons, I don't give a s--- about that."
When asked to clarify his comment about addressing Brown and Edwards' futures, Arians confirmed no decision had been made.
"Nothing's been decided, no," Arians said.
Upon signing Brown in October of 2020, Arians said, "I don't think we'll have any problems with those things," when addressing the wide receiver having to deal with COVID-19 protocols after having been unsigned for the majority of the season. In November of last year, Arians told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the Bucs would not hesitate to get rid of Brown should he fall back on past controversial behavior. "He's been a model citizen, if and when he's not, we'll move on," Arians said.
The suspensions came to be in light of a Nov. 18 report published in the Tampa Bay Times in which Brown's former chef alleged that the former Pro Bowler had obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccine card.
All attempts by team personnel or players to use forged or fake cards, which is a federal criminal offense, are cause for review under the league's personal-conduct policy.
Brown, 33, is in his second season with the Buccaneers, but has not played since Oct. 14 due to an ankle injury and has missed five consecutive games. That ankle injury was likely to keep Brown shelved for the next two weeks, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday. Brown has 29 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns in five games this season.
Then a free agent, Brown was previously suspended for eight games in July of 2020 for multiple violations of the NFL's personal-conduct policy. That suspension stemmed from Brown's no contest plea to burglary and battery chargers in a January 2020 incident, along with accusations he sent intimidating texts to a woman who accused Brown of making unwanted advances to her.
Edwards, 25, has played in 11 games this season for the Buccaneers, with three starts, and has tallied three interceptions, including two returned for a touchdown, and 35 tackles. This is Edwards' third season for the Bucs, who drafted him in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.