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Monday, September 16, 2019

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Watch: Tom Brady, Antonio Brown waste no time hooking up for TD

The New England Patriots chose to play Antonio Brown on Sunday despite the impending lawsuit against him, and the star wide receiver proved he was able to grasp the offense in a very limited amount of time.

Tom Brady went to Brown early and often against the Dolphins in Miami, and the two hooked up for a 20-yard touchdown late in the second quarter.

Brown appeared to shove the defender and may have gotten away with offensive pass interference, but the call stood upon review.

It remains unclear if Brown will face disciplinary action from the NFL after his former trainer, Britney Taylor, accused him of sexual assault. Taylor is expected to meet with league officials on Monday. She alleges that Brown sexually assaulted her twice in 2017 and raped her in 2018.

Brown and Taylor engaged in confidential legal discussions for months prior to the lawsuit being filed, and Brown reportedly opted to not pay Taylor a massive settlement after being given a deadline from her legal team. There are currently no criminal charges pending against Brown, but that does not mean he will avoid a suspension.

Watch: Jalen Ramsey, Doug Marrone get into heated confrontation

The Jacksonville Jaguars got off to a frustrating start for the second straight game in Week 2, and it wasn’t long before frustrations boiled over on the sideline.

With the Jags trailing the Houston Texans 3-0 early in the first half, Jalen Ramsey was seen shouting about something on the sideline. Head coach Doug Marrone came over to talk to the All-Pro cornerback, and Ramsey wanted nothing to do with it. That led to a heated confrontation and the two having to be separated.

Ramsey was angry when he came off the field prior to the altercation, and he appeared to shove Marrone. It’s possible he was frustrated that Jacksonville’s defense was doing its job and the offense was not scoring points.

Ramsey has seemingly had a rocky relationship with Marrone and the Jaguars’ front office for quite some time now. He offered a blunt assessment of Marrone’s job security during Jacksonville’s disappointing season last year, and he flamboyantly campaigned for a new contract during training camp this year.

Report: Nick Foles expected to return in Week 11

Nick Foles Jags

The Jacksonville Jaguars were dealt a major blow when Nick Foles suffered a broken collarbone in their Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, but the quarterback should return to the field in plenty of time for the stretch run.

Foles underwent successful surgery and had a plate and screws inserted for what was described as a straightforward clavicle break, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. He will be eligible to play again in Week 11 after being placed on injured reserve, and the team expects him to be ready at that time. Foles will have multiple scans between now and when he is eligible to begin practicing in Week 9 to make sure there is no risk of a re-break, but the Jaguars are optimistic.

Foles suffered the injury when a defender landed on top of him on a deep touchdown pass to DJ Chark.

Now, it will be up to rookie Gardner Minshew to keep the Jaguars in contention until Foles can return. Many consider Minshew to be one of the most interesting men in the NFL (and for good reason), but starting in the NFL as a rookie is always a massive challenge. Minshew looked sharp in relief of Foles in Week 1, completing 22-of-25 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Charlie Culberson suffers facial fractures after being hit in face with pitch

Atlanta Braves outfielder Charlie Culberson left Saturday night’s game against the Washington Nationals after he was hit in the face with a pitch from Fernando Rodney, and he has fortunately already been released from the hospital.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Sunday that Culberson suffered fractures, but he did not have to spend the night in the hospital.

That sounds incredibly painful, but it is good news all things considered. The fact that Culberson was already sent home from the hospital is a positive sign, especially when you see how brutal the injury looked. You can see a video of the pitch below, but keep in mind it may be difficult to watch:

Home plate umpire Tim Timmons said after Washington’s 10-1 win that Nationals manager Dave Martinez appealed to him on the play to see if Culberson offered at the pitch, which he did. That led to Snitker coming out of the dugout and giving the umpiring crew an earful, but Martinez said Sunday that the conversation he had with Timmons was misrepresented by the umpire.

Rodney also expressed remorse over what happened and said Sunday that he was hoping to get a message to Culberson.

It’s always a terrifying thing when a batter takes a pitch to the face, and we’re glad to hear Culberson was not hospitalized for very long. We’ll have to wait to see the extent of the facial fractures.

Antonio Brown reportedly rejected $2 million settlement with Britney Taylor

Antonio Brown had an opportunity to reach a settlement with the woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her on numerous occasions, but the star wide receiver decided not to sign off on the agreement after months of negotiations.

Brown had been discussing settlement options with his former friend and trainer, Britney Taylor, since April and was given a deadline of last Sunday night to sign a proposed agreement, but ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reports that he opted against it. The deadline expired around the same time Brown agreed to a one-year deal with the New England Patriots, and Taylor filed her civil lawsuit in court on Tuesday.

The settlement reportedly would have paid Taylor in excess of $2 million.

Neither the NFL nor the Patriots knew of the allegations against Brown prior to the lawsuit being filed, and that is because the previous discussions between Brown and Taylor were confidential. It’s unclear if Brown verbally agreed to the settlement and then later changed his mind.

Taylor has accused Brown of sexually assaulting her on two separate occasions in 2017 and raping her in 2018. She is scheduled to meet with the NFL on Monday and is willing to fully cooperate with the league’s investigation.

The Patriots supposedly would not have signed Brown had they known about the allegations, but they chose to stick with him after the lawsuit was filed. Brown’s contract with the Patriots includes $9 million guaranteed, and he practiced with the team this week and will play against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Report: Redskins will make Trent Williams pay fines, won’t give him new deal

Trent Williams

Trent Williams is set to miss his second straight game with the Washington Redskins on Sunday as his holdout continues, and the team has no intention of giving into the All-Pro tackle’s demands.

Williams has accrued $1.2 million in fines and owes Washington $743,000 for a pro-rated portion of his signing bonus, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the team will not forgive the fines if Williams decides to show up. They also reportedly have no plans to sign him to a new contract.

Williams, a seven-time Pro Bowler, is scheduled to make nearly $11 million this season and $12.5 million next year. While he is one of the best left tackles in football, he is 31 and has missed several games due to injuries in recent years. His issues with the Redskins also appear to be about more than just money.

He has not spoken about it publicly, but Williams is said to be at odds with Washington’s medical staff over the way his health scare was handled this offseason. One of his former teammate’s said last week that Williams’ holdout would likely end sooner rather than later, but the fines are piling up.

Dak Prescott, Cowboys reportedly at ‘impasse’ in contract talks

Dak Prescott

The Dallas Cowboys have expressed confidence publicly that they will be able to sign Dak Prescott to a long-term extension before the quarterback becomes a free agent, but negotiations may not be progressing as quickly as Jerry Jones claims they are.

Prescott and the Cowboys are not expected to have a new contract in place in the foreseeable future, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. While Jones said last week that an extension was “imminent,” talks have apparently hit a snag.

According to Rapoport, the holdup may be due to the Cowboys wanting to continue with their recent trend of signing players to deals spanning five or more years, while Prescott likely wants a contract more in line with the four-year extensions Jared Goff and Carson Wentz recently signed.

Prescott is only 26, so a four-year contract would allow him to potentially hit the free agent market again at age 30. The NFL salary cap will have risen significantly at that point, so he could capitalize on a new quarterback market. The Cowboys, understandably, would like to avoid that.

Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones walked back Jerry’s comments about the Prescott extension being imminent, though there have been other indications that the discussions are progressing.

Report: Patriots would not have signed Antonio Brown if they knew about lawsuit

Robert Kraft

The New England Patriots were reportedly blindsided when a sexual assault lawsuit was filed against Antonio Brown earlier in the week, and the star wide receiver apparently would never have ended up with the team if they were aware of the allegations.

Robert Kraft would not have authorized his team to sign Brown had the Patriots been aware of Britney Taylor’s sexual assault allegations against him, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. Neither the Patriots nor the NFL were aware of the allegations, which we recently learned is because Brown and Taylor were involved in confidential legal talks for months.

You could make the argument that the Patriots should have cut Brown once the allegations came to light if they would never have signed him if they had knowledge of them, but at that point they had already given him $9 million guaranteed. It may not be admirable, but money and winning are typically the two biggest priorities for NFL teams.

The Patriots have been high on Brown since the Pittsburgh Steelers placed him on the trade market last offseason, so they jumped at the opportunity to sign him when he forced his way out of Oakland. Jason La Canfora reports that Bill Belichick was among the first people to call the Steelers when a divorce between Brown and his former team became inevitable. Belichick was told it would take a first-round pick plus either an impact player or another “significant draft pick” to land Brown, and the coach said that would not be a problem. However, Steelers officials then informed Belichick that the Patriots were among a handful of rival teams with whom they were not authorized to make a trade.

Brown practiced with the Patriots even after Taylor filed her lawsuit in court on Tuesday, so the Patriots seem content to let the NFL determine the seven-time Pro Bowler’s fate. It remains unclear if they will want to keep Brown if he faces a lengthy suspension or is placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, and a decision regarding that could come as early as next week.

For more on the subject:

A summary of the lawsuits filed against Antonio Brown since 2018
Britney Taylor passed lie detector test regarding Antonio Brown allegations
Britney Taylor planning to meet with NFL after her wedding
The text messages Antonio Brown allegedly sent Britney Taylor
Antonio Brown planning to file countersuit against Britney Taylor
Attorney defends Antonio Brown against ‘money grab’ allegations
Patriots react to lawsuit filed against Antonio Brown

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