Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians seemed to suggest his team was singled out for investigation after several Bucs players were recently suspended for submitting phony Covid-19 vaccination cards.
Asked about the NFL investigation that led to three-game suspensions for three players, including superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown, Arians said he doesn't want the probe to end with his team.
"I just hope that they don't stop looking," Arians told reporters on Friday.
Asked whether the fake cards were a leaguewide problem, Arians offered a simple "maybe."
The investigation of the Buccaneers was triggered by a report in the Tampa Bay Times claiming that Brown and his girlfriend had inquired about, and later procured, the fake cards.
The claim was sourced to Brown's former live-in chef and assistant, who is suing Brown for alleged lack of payment for services rendered. The chef later claimed that Brown purchased the bogus cards from an unidentified Buccaneers teammate.
Brown, Bucs reserve safety Mike Edwards, and free-agent wide receiver John Franklin III, cut by the Bucs during training camp, each were suspended three games for the fraudulent cards, which is also a federal crime.
The NFL estimated that about 80% of players were vaccinated at team facilities, Pro Football Talk reported this week, meaning their vaccination status is already confirmed and verified. That could leave as much as 20% of players whose vaccination status would require some legwork to verify.
The saga over Brown's fake card has put Arians in a difficult position, after he famously dubbed Brown a model citizen upon joining the Bucs midseason last year.
Arians famously declared that Brown was on a one-strike policy, which he now seems to have burned after his history of questionable behavior was not a major issue during the team's Super Bowl run.