The fanfare was unlike any other in-season signing.
For the good on the field, and for the bad off the field, Brown’s return to the NFL generated endless headlines. Now, as he is set to return Sunday night against the Saints, Tampa Bay’s top evaluator weighed in on what he’s like now that he’s back on the field.
“He’s just so explosive and sudden and so much stronger than he looks,” Bucs GM Jason Licht told NFL.com after watching AB practice in Tampa. “If you saw him in a grocery store, you wouldn’t think he’s a seven-time Pro Bowler. But man. He’s very strong, great hands, super explosive.”
So, yes. Tampa likes what it has seen. And chances are, you’ll see a lot of him against New Orleans. Coach Bruce Arians estimated his role could be anywhere from 10-30 plays, and Licht added playing time will depend on how the game goes.
“I expect him to be out there and he’s picked things up very quickly,” Licht said, adding that the offense is “very similar” to what they ran with the Steelers and that we could see Brown a lot.
So much went into the signing of Brown, who recently served an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy multiple times following accusations of sexual misconduct and rape. In fact, there is still an outstanding civil lawsuit and it’s possible if wrongdoing is found, another suspension could come.
Licht, similar to Arians, said the way the contract is structured — one-year, $1 million with no guaranteed money — allows them to get out if Brown either doesn’t fit in or the situation off the field warrants.
“It’s an opportunity that we’re giving him, another opportunity, but it’s a one-year deal and if it doesn’t work, there’s no risk,” Licht said. “No risk.”
In his first press conference after the signing, Arians said Brown would be gone if he caused any problems.