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Thursday, May 28, 2020

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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