John Brown is back in the NFL just in time for a run to a ring.
The veteran speedster nicknamed "Smokey" has latched onto a new team, signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad, the team announced Thursday.
Tampa Bay is the third team Brown has joined in the 2021 season; he appeared in two games with Denver and two with Jacksonville without recording a reception in either contest. Prior to 2021, Brown was a key part of Buffalo's passing attack, posting his second 1,000-yard season of his career in 2019 before injuries limited his availability in 2020. Buffalo couldn't afford to risk another health-hampered season from Brown, signing Emmanuel Sanders to replace his role in the Bills offense in 2021.
Brown began his career with the Arizona Cardinals, where Bruce Arians was in charge of the on-field operation when Arizona selected Brown with a third-round pick in 2014. He'll reunite with the current Buccaneers coach in what is an attempt to build some dependable depth in a receiving room that has suffered losses/temporary absences due to physical ailments (Chris Godwin, Cyril Grayson, Mike Evans) or public outbursts resulting in termination (Antonio Brown).
John Brown shouldn't be expected to immediately step on the field and become a crucial third element to Tampa Bay's passing attack, but he'll at least get some time to learn the basics as a Buccaneer with the chance he'll be promoted for a playoff game in the weeks ahead. With the Buccaneers anticipating another deep run toward a title defense, having someone like Brown available is wise.
Tampa Bay opens the postseason Sunday at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.