TAMPA, Fla. -- Last week, it was wide receiver Antonio Brown toasting quarterback Tom Brady for breaking the NFL's career passing yardage record against the New England Patriots. This week, it was Brown's turn to make history.
With a first-quarter catch against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Brown overtook Pro Football Hall of Fame wideout Marvin Harrison to become the fastest NFL player to reach 900 catches. On first-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 25-yard line, Brady found Brown on a slant route for a 10-yard gain to reach the mark.
Brown called it an "amazing moment."
"That's something I'm really grateful for, but I couldn't have done it by myself," Brown said. "Being able to play with some great quarterbacks -- Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady -- it's a blessing to play with guys like that."
At the beginning of the second quarter, the Buccaneers' stadium PA announcer acknowledged Brown's achievement. He was given hugs on the sideline by wide receivers coach Kevin Garver, wide receiver Jaydon Mickens and running back Ronald Jones. Other teammates came over to congratulate him on the sideline following Ryan Succop's 42-yard field goal.
On Brown's next catch, Brady found him on a crossing route underneath for a 62-yard catch-and-run touchdown -- the longest touchdown of the Buccaneers' season through five games. On the play, Brown reached 20.95 mph, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.
Brown, 33, added a second touchdown catch shortly before halftime and the Buccaneers cruised to a 45-17 victory, with Brown finishing with seven catches for 124 yards.
"Pretty amazing," Brady said. "I give him a lot of credit. He's been through a lot. Showed a lot of mental toughness, a lot of resilience. A lot of support from a lot of different people in his life at different times. Everyone just really wants him to succeed."
The Buccaneers were dealt a blow when inside linebacker and longtime team captain Lavonte David was rolled up on by teammate Ndamukong Suh while blitzing quarterback Jacoby Brissett. David's ankle was caught under Suh, and he was ruled out for the remainder of the game. He was taken to the locker room for X-rays, which were negative, according to a source.
Coach Bruce Arians said early indications are that it's a high ankle sprain.
Heading into Sunday's game against his hometown team, Brown, now in his 12th season and second with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, needed just one catch to reach the 900 mark in his 143rd career game. Harrison, who spent 13 seasons in the NFL -- all with the Indianapolis Colts -- did it in 149 games.
Brown would likely have achieved the milestone sooner had it not been for an eight-game suspension in 2020 due to burglary and battery charges stemming from an incident with a moving truck driver in January 2020. In fact, many thought his career was over.
He was accused by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, of sexually assaulting her between 2017 and 2018. They reached a civil settlement in April 2021, with both parties releasing a joint statement saying, "Their dispute is resolved and they wish each other great continued success."
A second woman -- an artist Brown hired to create a mural in his Pittsburgh home in June 2017 -- publicly accused Brown of sexual misconduct but never filed charges or pursued legal action. The only pending litigation Brown faces is a civil suit from the moving truck driver.
"We all need to go through things to shape our purpose and make us better," Brown said. "If we all just sit here and didn't never go through anything, we wouldn't be able to appreciate life or we wouldn't never be able to grow. The things I went through, was able to prepare me to grow and make me a better person."
But in Tampa, he has been reunited with Brady and has worked to get his life back on track with self-help guru Tony Robbins.
"There were no second chances," Arians said. "He's grasped this opportunity and ran with it. I'm really, really proud of him."
"Since the day we've met -- I've watched and admired him for a long time -- and obviously played with him briefly in New England, and just struck up a great relationship," Brady said. "[I] really wanted to see him get things -- sometimes things can take us away from what we really love to do in football and play. I think he's done an incredible job personally of putting a lot of those things aside, and just focusing on football and showing people how great he is."