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Monday, September 16, 2019

Football

Antonio Brown denies latest sexual misconduct allegations from SI article

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown was accused of sexual misconduct by a second woman who was interviewed as a part of a Sports Illustrated feature that was published on Monday, and the star receiver says there is no truth to those allegations, either.

An artist whom Brown hired to paint a mural inside his Pittsburgh-area home back in 2017 told SI’s Robert Klemko that she was kneeling down painting when Brown came up behind her with nothing but a small towel covering his genitals. Through his attorney, Brown issued a denial.

The artist chose to remain anonymous and said she has no intention of filing a lawsuit or pursuing charges against Brown. She says she was hired by Brown after he submitted the winning bid for a painting she created of him that was being auctioning off at a charity event the then-Pittsburgh Steelers receiver was hosting. Brown then invited her to work at his home for $1,000 per day painting a mural, and he abruptly broke off communication with her after the alleged sexual misconduct.

The alleged incident with the artist occurred in the same month Brown’s former trainer, Britney Taylor, says Brown exposed himself to her and kissed her without her consent. Taylor says Brown sexually assaulted her later that month and then raped her in 2018. You can read more details of Taylor’s allegations against Brown here.

Brown has had numerous legal problems over the years and been sued four times since 2018. He has vehemently denied all of the sexual assault and misconduct allegations against him, and Taylor is expected to meet with the NFL to discuss them this week.

James Conner’s knee injury not believed to be serious

James Conner

On a rather bleak day for the franchise, the Pittsburgh Steelers did get a bit of good news on the injury front Monday.

While there was no official diagnosis, the belief in the Pittsburgh locker room is that running back James Conner’s knee injury is not serious and “manageable,” according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Conner ran just 11 times for 33 yards Sunday, though he did score a touchdown. The 24-year-old left Sunday’s loss late, but there does not appear to be immense concern about his status going forward.

The Steelers need Conner badly in light of Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending injury. They’ll need all the help they can get.

Cowboys WR Michael Gallup to miss 2-4 weeks with knee injury

Michael Gallup

The emergence of Michael Gallup has been one of the main reasons the Dallas Cowboys’ offense is off to a roaring start this season, but the second-year wide receiver could be unavailable for the next month after he suffered a knee injury on Sunday.

Gallup is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery to trim a torn meniscus, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. He will miss 2-4 weeks.

Gallup, a third-round pick last year, has shown outstanding chemistry with Dak Prescott thus far in 2019. He has 13 catches on 15 targets through two games and is averaging a whopping 17.4 yards per reception.

The Cowboys have looked explosive on offense and should have enough weapons to overcome the loss of Gallup, especially against the lowly Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Dallas takes on a New Orleans Saints team the following week that will be without Drew Brees, so the timing of Gallup’s injury actually could be a lot worse.

Taco Charlton seemingly tells Cowboys to trade or release him

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly been exploring the possibility of trading Taco Charlton, and the desire for a split is one that seems to be shared by the defensive end.

Charlton was a healthy scratch once again for Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins, and executive vice president Stephen Jones indicated on Monday that Charlton’s inability to play in multiple spots is why the Cowboys have not activated him yet this season. In response to that revelation, Charlton sent a not-so-subtle tweet telling the Cowboys to “free me.”

Charlton then followed up by confirming he is trying to force his way out of Dallas, noting that having to do so on Twitter is not something he wanted to resort to.

Reports have indicated that Charlton told the Cowboys during the offseason that he wanted to be traded. The team considered cutting him at one point, but they have since been shopping him in trade talks. However, finding a team that is willing to give up something of value may be difficult, as it seems obvious Charlton is no longer in the Cowboys’ plans and they will likely part ways with him regardless.

Charlton was a first-round pick out of Michigan back in 2017, but he had just four sacks in 27 games over his first two seasons. The Cowboys have been mentioned as a possible suitor for one of the last good players remaining in Dolphins, though it seems unlikely that the Dolphins would want anything other than draft picks while they’re in full tank mode. Either way, Charlton’s days in Dallas are clearly numbered.

Browns’ Chris Smith explains decision to play after girlfriend’s death

Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith is making the difficult decision to play just five days after his girlfriend was killed.

Petara Cordero, Smith’s girlfriend and mother of his child, was killed on Sept. 11 after being struck by a car. Smith opted to make himself available for Monday night’s game against the New York Jets, stating that it’s what his girlfriend would have wanted him to do.

Everything about this is incredibly heartbreaking, but it’s a safe bet that Smith will be extra inspired in Monday’s game. The 27-year-old isn’t a regular starter, but has collected 8.5 NFL sacks over parts of five seasons.

Antonio Brown could be fined for skipping media duties

Antonio Brown

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown could be in line for a fine after ducking the media on Sunday.

Brown, like his teammates, is obligated by league rules to make himself available for the media after playing. Brown did not do so, and the NFL is looking into it.

It’s certainly not the only investigation Brown is facing right now, and definitely not the most serious. Brown seemingly had the Patriots’ support in skipping media duties, presumably because they did not want him fielding questions about the allegations he’s facing.

Could Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow surgery mean the end of his career?

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger was ruled out for the 2019 season on Monday as it was announced he will need surgery on his elbow. There is some thought, however, that the repercussions may be even greater than that.

Roethlisberger is facing a difficult rehab and will be 38 by the time he’s healthy enough to play in an NFL game again. Several reporters wondered if this will prompt the quarterback to think about retirement, including well-respected longtime Steelers reported Ed Bouchette of The Athletic.

Roethlisberger openly flirted with retirement following the 2016 season, but it hasn’t really come up again since. Still, opening the door to it once kind of put the thought in everyone’s head. He has cited injuries and quality of life after football as reasons to consider quitting, but this injury is to his elbow, not his head or anything that could severely impact him long-term.

On the other hand, Roethlisberger signed a two-year contract before the season that runs through 2021, indicating that retirement has not been on his mind lately. It’s entirely possible he’ll want to see that out, but the storyline absolutely bears watching.