Tampa Bay Bucs coach Bruce Arians doesn't want decision on suspensions to Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards to be distraction

TAMPA, Fla. -- While still no decision has been made on the futures of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown or safety Mike Edwards, who are set to return next week from three-game suspensions, coach Bruce Arians said Friday that he doesn't want the decision to distract from Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

An NFL investigation found that both players produced fake vaccination cards, which is against NFL rules and also a federal crime. Their suspensions were the first and only incidence so far where NFL players have been found to have fake vaccination cards.

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

When asked if any team-imposed discipline would take place, Arians responded, "No." Arians said of the suspension earlier in the week on the Dan Patrick Show, "It could go either way right now, it really could."

Brown posted a video of himself inside the Bucs' indoor practice facility Friday on his Instagram stories, although his suspension is not technically up until the end of this week, but it does give a possible indication of what direction the Bucs are heading in.

The NFL league office says Brown and Edwards were permitted to go to the facility to work out with the strength and conditioning staff during their suspensions, so no rules were broken by Brown's presence at the facility.

This is from a change from previous CBA where players, such as Jameis Winston during his three-game suspension in 2018, could not visit the facility during their suspensions.

Arians said running back Leonard Fournette will play Sunday after missing the last two days of practices with an ankle injury before returning Friday.

"He practiced full and looked OK," Arians said. "He's not out. ... He'll play."

Arians also said that cornerback Jamel Dean, who has a non-COVID-19 illness, is out this week. He's not in the concussion protocol (he was previously but was cleared) but they're still trying to figure out what it is. He has been dealing with what has been described as "wooziness."

His backup, Richard Sherman, has been dealing with an Achilles injury.

A Bucs win against the Saints would clinch the NFC South title for the Bucs for the first time since 2007.