AB still not ready to return to Buccaneers for MNF

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was accused this week of obtaining a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, has been ruled out for Monday Night Football against the New York Giants, coach Bruce Arians said Saturday.

Brown has not played since suffering an ankle injury in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles and, although he has made progress, he did not practice with the team this week.

Earlier this week, Brown’s former live-in chef, Steven Ruiz, who also took on the role of a personal assistant, accused the veteran receiver of obtaining a fake COVID-19 vaccine card and said that Brown had obtained it from a Bucs teammate.

Brown’s attorney had denied the allegation. Arians on Friday said the team did its due diligence in vetting player vaccine cards and that “the league will do theirs.”

Arians on Saturday said tight end Rob Gronkowski, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting and wide receiver Scotty Miller are among player who will be game-time decisions.

“The arrow’s trending up for a couple of guys for sure,” Arians said.

Murphy-Bunting and Miller are still on injured reserve but can be activated at any time since beginning their 21-day practice window to return.

“I think Sean as shown me that he’s probably ready to go, and we’ll just see if we’re gonna make that roster move yet,” Arians said. “Scotty, it’s just a matter of need really. Because we have enough receivers. We have B.P. (Breshad Perriman) for another week so we’ll see wait and see where that one goes, but he’s ready.”

Arians said Murphy-Bunting, who suffered a dislocated elbow in Week 1, had a few interceptions in practice this week using both hands and utilized his arms in press coverage. The team could use his presence considering Richard Sherman was placed on IR with a calf strain this week.

“Getting him back is one thing, but playing 60 plays is another, “Arians said of Murphy-Bunting. “… Sean’s been out a long time, so we can’t overload him. But there are spots that, if we can get him back out there, he can help us for sure and gradually get his role back.”

The team is also waiting to see if cornerback Dee Delaney will pass the concussion protocol. If he does not, Arians said the team would likely call up Blidi Wreh-Wilson from the practice squad.

Arians said he was encouraged by what he saw this week from Gronkowski, who played just five snaps in Week 8 after missing four games with cracked ribs and a punctured lung before dealing with back spasms,

“We’ll get a good look at him pregame,” Arians said. “… We’ll have to see how it goes, and if he plays, monitor his workload.”

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