NFL suspends Bucs' Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards for violating COVID-19 protocols

The NFL announced the suspension of two current Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and one former Bucs player for violating the league's COVID-19 protocols.

"Tampa Bay's Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards have each been suspended without pay for the next three games," a statement from the NFL read.

Free agent John Franklin III, if signed by a team, is also ineligible to play in the next three games. The defensive back last played for the Bucs in 2019.

mike edwards antonio brown getty split

Mike Edwards, left, and Antonio Brown, right (Photos: Abbie Parr/Mitchell Leff via Getty Images)

The NFL Players Association, which developed the protocols along with the league, represented the three players during a review of the recent allegations that players misrepresented their vaccination status. Brown, a wide receiver, Edwards, a cornerback, and Franklin were found in violation of the protocols.

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The league said it reviewed allegations that the players misrepresented their vaccination status and found that their review "supported those allegations."

The NFL said all three players have accepted the discipline and waived their right of appeal.

"The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority," the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement. "The protocols were jointly developed working with our respective experts to ensure that we are practicing and playing football as safely as possible during the ongoing pandemic. The NFL-NFLPA jointly reinforce their commitment and further emphasize the importance of strict adherence to the protocols to protect the well-being of everyone associated with the NFL."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.