TAMPA, Fla. — At this point last year, Antonio Brown’s future in the NFL was shaky at best. He was without a team and facing an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Things look different this time around.
“It's a new chapter for me,” Brown said. “I am excited to write it.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a chance on Brown after his suspension ended last year. Brown focused on his personal life and settled his legal issues. Under the guidance of quarterback Tom Brady, Brown became a productive player on a Super Bowl champion offense.
“Life last year was uncertain,” he said. “A lot of uncertainty. Would I even get the chance to play football, being suspended? I always remember at that point last year where I was at to make sure I appreciate [this]. Having the right respect and being grateful that I'm at this point right here.”
Brown played in eight regular games last season catching 45 passes for 483 yards and four touchdowns. He even made scored a touchdown against Kansas City in the Super Bowl. Gratitude is his biggest takeaway.
“I’ve just learned to appreciate the position I'm in,” Brown said. “Keep the right perspective. And stay grateful. A.P.G. Appreciation -- appreciate the opportunity I get to do what I love. Keeping the right perspective. Knowing it's bigger than me. Just being grateful. Grateful to do what I love."
Brown, who signed a one-year deal to return to Tampa Bay, also had arthroscopic knee surgery this offseason.
“This is the healthiest he's been in a few years,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said. “It's been bothering him for a couple of years. Now it's all clean, so it's good. It’s remarkable how he takes care of himself. He's playing at a speed that we saw four or five years ago."
Brown is part of a deep and dangerous receiving corps that includes Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. A scary trio for Bucs opponents.