“He screws up one time, he’s gone. I don’t think he will because he wants to play.” – Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians on signing Antonio Brown
“Today had a different feel obviously without Tom being here, without the fans being here. Kind of built it up in my head a little more…It was everything I could’ve asked for to come back here.” – Jimmy Garoppolo on returning to New England
“This Pittsburgh team is so interesting because of the playmakers everywhere…This year, the Steelers have the weaponry to compete with Lamar Jackson and his tools.” – King on the 6-0 Steelers
STAMFORD, Conn. – Oct. 26, 2020 – Peter King speaks with Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians about signing free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also speaks with Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt after Pittsburgh moved to 6-0 with a win over Tennessee, and with 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after leading San Francisco to a win over his former team in New England.
Across NBC Sports this week, Peacock’s daily NFL programming includes PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another, with Michael Holley and Michael Smith, at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET and Safety Blitz, featuring Rodney Harrison and Jac Collinsworth, at 6 p.m. ET. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and the Rotoworld Football Podcast and Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast discuss Week 7.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
BRUCE ARIANS & THE BUCCANEERS
King on the Buccaneers and signing Antonio Brown: “The Bucs are 5-2…The last two weeks the Bucs of 2020 look like the in-stride Patriots of 2007, the team that clobbered good teams every week on the way to 16-0. And now, well, now the Bucs are inviting the fox into the henhouse.”
King: “Signing Brown could be a seminal moment for this franchise. It’s a classic deal with the devil…In talking to Arians, he insisted on three things: It wasn’t Tom Brady’s call, his players are on board with it, and he will not allow Brown to derail the good things the Bucs have going.”
Bruce Arians to King on the impetus for signing Brown: “Injuries. I mean, we got two Pro Bowl receivers [Mike Evans, Chris Godwin]. We went to Chicago with none of them, really. They were hurt. And here’s a guy that’s a Pro Bowl type player…We’re on the hook for nothing in this deal. He screws up one time, he’s gone. I don’t think he will because he wants to play.”
Arians: “I know everybody wants to say Tom Brady lobbied us to get this done. Tom Brady lobbied me back in, gosh, June, July, August. I said no. It didn’t fit then. Now, we’re in the hunt. I owe it to the rest of my players…AB brings another dynamic to our team that we don’t have. I owe it to the rest of our players to put the best team out there possible.”
Arians on potential issues with Brown: “I don’t foresee any problems. I don’t anticipate any situation where he and I are gonna have a problem. He knows that if there is, it’s a very short-lived contract…This move wasn’t made without me talking to every single one of our veteran players. Do you want this guy? Do you want this guy in our locker room? Every man said yes.”
King on Brown: “I’ve just seen this movie too many times over the past two years. It never ends well, and those who do not learn from history are usually doomed to repeat it.”
T.J. WATT & THE STEELERS
King on Pittsburgh’s Week 7 win against Tennessee: “Pittsburgh and Tennessee entered Sunday’s top-of-the-AFC showdown game 5-0…I loved the game. There was so much to love about Steelers 27, Titans 24. A great game for football, a very good game for Pittsburgh, and a good game for Tennessee too.”
T.J. Watt to King: “We won, but we’re not happy. They just made too many plays on us in the second half, and it definitely should not have come down to them missing a field goal for us to win.”
King on the Steelers: “The Steelers are 6-0 for the first time since the third Super Bowl team (the 14-2 Steelers of 1978) started so strong. This Pittsburgh team is so interesting because of the playmakers everywhere…There are as many on defense who can make plays. That’s a huge reason why the Steelers are where they are.”
Watt on how studying tape of his brother, J.J., helped prepare him this week against the Titans and Derrick Henry: “Watch my brother’s game last week. You’ll see the same play. You’ll see it twice…From my study, I had a really good idea he’d run my way. The tackle got a little wider, I knocked his hand down, got inside, got upfield fast, and got to Derrick.”
Watt on studying other players: “When I first moved to defense [from tight end, to outside rusher, at Wisconsin in 2015], I knew how to play the game, based on how my brother played. But I can’t rush exactly like him, because he’s 290. [T.J. Watt is about 252.] So I watched him and learned, but I watched lots of players…Coach (Mike) Tomlin says, ‘We don’t care where good ideas come from.’”
King on the Steelers-Ravens Week 8 matchup: “Last year, (Ben) Roethlisberger missed both Ravens games with his injured elbow, and Baltimore ran away with the division. This year, the Steelers have the weaponry to compete with Lamar Jackson and his tools.”
JIMMY GAROPPOLO & THE 49ERS
King on 49ers-Patriots: “For three years, this day hung in the back of Jimmy Garoppolo’s head…Back to Foxboro for the first time since the hurried trade from New England to San Francisco three years ago this week.”
Garoppolo to King on facing the Patriots: “I tried to tell myself all week that it was just gonna be a normal game…Tried to mentally prepare like that. Honestly once the bus pulled up and I saw the stadium and everything, it kind of all hit me right then…Just brought back a ton of memories.”
Garoppolo on focusing solely on football now that his return to New England is behind him: “Today had a different feel obviously without Tom being here, without the fans being here. Kind of built it up in my head a little more…It was everything I could’ve asked for to come back here, really just get back to where it all started. But you’re right – it’ll be good to be all football now.”
WEEK 7 NEWS & NOTES
King on the upcoming trade deadline: “COVID has accelerated the trade deadline from Nov. 3 to this Thursday, for many teams…If a team wants a player to get in a full week of work and be available to play in Week 9, the deadline is really Oct. 29 – this Thursday. That would give a hustling team time to get the player his five consecutive daily COVID tests.”
King on potential trade targets: “In calls around the league, the toughest commodity to buy this trading season is tackle. The position is so important, with so few playing at a high level who might be available. The best one: Minnesota’s Riley Reiff.”
King on potential trades of Julio Jones and Michael Thomas: “Julio Jones very likely won’t be moved. Source close to the situation told me, ‘Forget it.’…As for Saints wideout Michael Thomas, I’d watch that situation.”
King on the Cowboys and Colin Kaepernick: “I think the Cowboys shouldn’t make a panic move today, or maybe even this week. Too many vital players injured. But veteran Dallas scribe Rick Gosselin had a prescient suggestion last week…Gosselin’s idea: sign Colin Kaepernick. Desperate times require desperate measures. I like it. Jerry Jones might not, but I do.”
King on the Broncos: “I am starting to see that Drew Lock vs. Patrick Mahomes is not a very fair fight for Denver, and John Elway might have to keep half an eye on the college quarterbacks in the draft next year. Again. Or maybe he should start watching Sam Darnold tape.”
Cris Collinsworth to King on what he would do if he were running the Jets: “(Eric) Bieniemy’s a dynamic personality, obviously he’s been in the room with Andy Reid, with the most creative of offenses…I’m re-creating Kansas City everything. Trevor Lawrence is the same kind of player that Patrick Mahomes is. He can move. He’s creative…And then I’m going out and I’m finding all the Kelces and Edwards-Helaires I can find.”
KING’S WEEK 7 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland, Davante Adams, Green Bay, & Matthew Stafford, Detroit.
King on Mayfield: “He came through at a crucial point in his team’s season…I’m not saying this game will change Mayfield’s career; one game never does that for a player. But it’s a hell of a start to change the narrative on him.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Isaiah Simmons, Arizona, Devin White, Tampa Bay, Fred Warner, San Francisco, & T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh.
King on Simmons: “Been a tough start for the eighth pick in the draft, but Simmons made a huge leap in overtime to help the Cardinals stun the Seahawks late Sunday night.”
Coach of the Week: Bobby Turner, San Francisco (running backs coach).
King on Turner: “Now 71, Turner is excellent at finding low-valued running backs and making something of them. With injuries plaguing the backfield in San Francisco, Turner got two undrafted free-agents, Jeff Wilson Jr. and JaMycal Hasty, ready for a road test at New England.”
Goats of the Week: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas, Raheem Morris, Atlanta, & Toddy Gurley, Atlanta.
King on Elliott: “This award is for the entire week, not just Sunday…For the running back with the most guaranteed money in any rusher’s contract in NFL history, Ezekiel Elliott is killing the Dallas Cowboys.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- Football Night in America: Week 7 Recap with Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, and Mike Florio
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET, and Sa Safety Blitz at 6 p.m. ET on Peacock.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and Rotoworld Football Podcast discuss Week 7 and look ahead to Week 8.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.