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Antonio Brown expected to rejoin Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday after suspension for violating COVID-19 protocols ends

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown, whose future has been up in the air since his three-game suspension for violating the joint NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols, is expected to rejoin the team on Monday, sources say.

Brown was one of three players suspended for violations of COVID-19 protocols as Bucs defensive back Mike Edwards and free-agent wide receiver John Franklin III also were suspended three games.

Edwards also is expected to rejoin the Bucs on Monday, sources say.

Brown, Edwards and Franklin were each found by the NFL on Dec. 3 to have misrepresented their vaccination status -- 15 days after the Tampa Bay Times published a report in which Brown's former chef alleged that Brown obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccine card. All three accepted their suspensions and did not appeal.

Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians has left the door open on whether or not Brown and Edwards would be welcomed back to the team.

On Friday, he indicated that a decision has been made, though he didn't announce it.

"It's just a matter of making a statement, and whether I do it before this game or after, we'll wait and see," Arians told reporters. "But I don't want anything distracting from this game."

Previously, he had said it could go either way.

The Bucs play the Saints tonight on Sunday Night Football, their third game without Brown -- who was also nursing an ankle injury at the time he was suspended. While Arians declined to address the issue, both Brown and Edwards have posted Instagram videos of themselves inside the team's facility.

A source explained that Brown and Edwards have been attending meetings and working out in the facility, all the activities they are allowed to do under the suspension. The team wanted to see how they responded during the time away, and it appears it was more than enough.

As for the ankle injury, a source said Brown's rehab has gone well for an injury that's kept him out since mid-October. He's ready to go.

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