Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown still not ready to practice for Bucs

Monday and Tuesday are bonus practice days for the Bucs who are missing two stars while Sean Murphy-Bunting and Scotty Miller return.
Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski scores his first touchdown of the game on Sept. 19 during the first quarter against the Falcons.
Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski scores his first touchdown of the game on Sept. 19 during the first quarter against the Falcons. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Nov. 8, 2021|Updated Nov. 9, 2021

TAMPA — The Bucs had a very good bye week as NFC playoff contenders such as the Saints, Rams, Packers and Cowboys all lost.

But on the field, they’re still waiting for the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown, who were not at practice Monday during the portion open to the media.

The good news, however, is that cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting and receiver Scotty Miller did return to workouts. Both have been on injured reserve but have begun their 21-day practice period and can be activated as soon as this Sunday’s game at Washington.

Cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring) also was not at practice during the portion open to the media. He dressed but did not play in the Bucs’ 36-27 loss to the Saints on Oct. 31. Outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder/hand) missed practice Monday but that has been the norm for him the past several weeks and he still played in New Orleans.

“I think we still have to worry a little bit about Gronk and I don’t know if A.B. (Brown) is going to make it back,” coach Bruce Arians said. “Carlton (Davis) still is on (injured reserve). We’ll see how those other two guys (Murphy-Bunting and Miller) get their game back. It’s one thing to practice but it’s another thing to throw them out there.”

Monday and Tuesday represent bonus practice days for the Bucs. An official injury report is not due until after Wednesday’s practice.

Gronkowski played six snaps at New Orleans before suffering back spasms related to his fractured ribs. Coach Bruce Arians said afterward it was probably a mistake to play Gronkowski that game.

Brown has not played since spraining his ankle at Philadelphia on Oct. 14; he had nine catches for 93 yards and a touchdown in that game.

Murphy-Bunting has been out since dislocating his elbow in the season-opening win against the Cowboys. Miller is coming off a turf toe injury.

It remains to be seen if Brown’s status will prompt the Bucs to explore signing Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was waived Monday by Cleveland.

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