Bucs HC Bruce Arians Says He Hopes NFL Keeps Looking For Fake Vaccine Cards

After the NFL suspended receiver Antonio Brown and safety Mike Edwards for misrepresenting their vaccination status, head coach Bruce Arians is hoping the league's investigation doesn't stop there.

“I just hope that they don’t stop looking,” Arians said on Friday.

Both Brown and Edwards were suspended by the NFL for three games for the infraction. On Nov. 18, Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud dropped a bombshell report on Brown. Steven Ruiz, Brown's former personal chef, alleged that Brown asked him to acquire a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. Brown and Ruiz had a fallout over the summer after Ruiz said he was owed $10,000 from Brown.

The Buccaneers released a statement shortly after the report, saying that no irregularities were observed.

Meanwhile, the NFL said they would investigate the allegations, which led to the suspensions of Brown and Edwards. Arians gave a one-word response when asked if he thought more players in the league had submitted fake vaccination cards.

"Maybe," Arians said.

Sean Burstyn, Brown's agent, released a statement to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, saying that Brown is vaccinated.

"The NFL made its determination and, instead of going through the drawn out and distracting process of challenging the outcome, Mr. Brown wrapped this up promptly and he will make the most of this time by treating his ankle injury," Burstyn said. "Mr. Brown will be motivated, well rested, and in the best shape of his life when he returns in Week 16."

On Sept. 2, before the season began, Arians proudly said the Buccaneers were 100% vaccinated. Brown tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 22 and missed the Buccaneers' 34-24 Week 3 loss to the Rams.

Brown has missed the last five games due to a sprained ankle. He and Edwards will be eligible to return in the Buccaneers' Week 16 matchup against the Panthers. With a road tilt on the way against the Falcons on Sunday, Arians made it clear the team's focus was on that.

"Obviously, we had two guys suspended," Arians said. "The league did their due diligence, and we move on. I will not address those guys for the next three weeks—they'll be working out. And then, we'll address their future at that time. Other than that, there's nothing else to say."

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