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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Articles tagged: New England Patriots

Antonio Brown released by Patriots

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown’s New England Patriots tenure is finished.

The wide receiver was released by the team Friday as allegations of improper conduct surrounding a sexual assault charge continued to grow.

“The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown,” the team said in a statement. “We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”

Brown thanked the Patriots via social media for the opportunity to play for them.

Brown ultimately played in one game for New England, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. He landed there after a troubled preseason in Oakland, where he quickly fell out with management. Shortly after joining the Patriots on a one-year deal worth up to $15 million, a former trainer filed a lawsuit against Brown alleging three instances of sexual assault. Whether the Patriots knew of the pending suit when signing him remains the subject of some speculation.

The last straw for New England may have been a series of messages harassing a second accuser, which the league confirmed Friday were sent by Brown. The messages, combined with mounting allegations of sexual assault, made Brown’s position with the Patriots untenable. It’s highly unlikely that anyone else picks the 31-year-old up now.

Bill Belichick seemingly admits rivalry with Jets has cooled off

Bill Belichick

There is no love lost between the Patriots and the Jets, and much of that has to do with Bill Belichick spending just one day as the head coach in New York before resigning to build a dynasty in New England. However, it’s hard to maintain a fierce rivalry when only one team does all the winning.

When the Patriots traded Demaryius Thomas to the Jets last week, it marked the first time that Belichick ever made a trade with his former team. On Tuesday, Belichick admitted that there was a time period when the deal would have never been possible.

Prior to the Thomas trade, the Jets were the only team in the NFL with which Belichick had never executed a trade. That is hardly a coincidence, as division rivals rarely make trades and the relationship between Belichick and the Jets was as poor as possible at one point. That is apparently no longer the case, even if the two sides still don’t like each other.

Belichick surprised some people earlier this year when he cracked a joke about his remarkably brief tenure as head coach of the Jets, and the Thomas trade is another indication that the rivalry is not as heated as it once was. The Jets only beating the Patriots two times since 2010 probably has a lot to do with that.

Tom Brady says Patriots are giving zero thought to undefeated season

Tom Brady

The New England Patriots have dominated their first two opponents of the season in such convincing fashion that the 2019 team is already drawing comparisons to the 2007 team, but Tom Brady insists that is not on the mind of anyone in the locker room.

In his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday, Brady was asked about the possibility of the Patriots going 19-0. He was adamant that no one on the team cares about that.

“I think if you look at our team over a long time, I think we … to think about something that’s going to happen two weeks from now or three weeks from now or five weeks from now is irrelevant,” Brady said. “You’ll have plenty of time to think about those when that’s a real reality. I mean that’s so far from what our reality is, you’re not going to live your life going through hypothetical situations.”

Brady said the Patriots have been so successful building a winning culture because they focus on being “efficient,” which means never looking too far down the road.

“Today, wake up and I’m thinking about the Jets and how they’re going to attack us and how we need to attack them,” the six-time Super Bowl champion said. “It’s going to ebb and flow over the course of the whole season. There are big challenges ahead and to take your eye off what’s really important is a disservice to the team and we’re not doing that.”

The Patriots opened their season with a 33-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and then made the Miami Dolphins look like a high school team on Sunday, beating them 43-0. While both performances were impressive, the Dolphins are one of the worst teams the NFL has seen in the past several years. Pittsburgh also has plenty of issues and looks like far from a lock for the postseason.

Without the pressure of an undefeated season hanging over their heads in 2007, the Patriots probably would have had a better chance of beating the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. Brady and Bill Belichick would likely be just as content winning another championship, and it’s possible their team could look a lot different going forward depending on how a major legal situation plays out. Taking things one week at a time has served them well, so the responses to questions about a perfect season aren’t going to change.

Patriots have Antonio Brown avoid media after debut

Antonio Brown

The New England Patriots are experts at avoiding media circuses and knew how to handle Antonio Brown after his debut with the team on Sunday.

Brown played and caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in New England’s 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins. The wide receiver did not speak with the media during the week and was seemingly shuttled out of the locker room after Sunday’s game so he would not be allowed to talk. The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin says Brown was out of the locker room, his locker was cleared out, and his name plate taken down before reporters were allowed in.

Brown being allowed by the NFL to play in the game despite facing sexual assault allegations from his former trainer Britney Taylor was a big surprise as is. The league, Patriots, and Brown’s legal team probably all believe it’s best to have him not make any public statements or take questions in the meantime.

Expect some Brown news early in the week considering Taylor plans to speak with the league on Monday.

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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Patriots preparing as if Antonio Brown will play against Dolphins

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown is facing a civil lawsuit stemming from allegations that he sexually assaulted a former friend with whom he used to train, but there has been no indication that the star wide receiver will be sidelined for his first game with the New England Patriots.

The Patriots have been preparing this week as if Brown will play against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media said Thursday that all signs point toward Brown playing and that he will be on the field “barring something unforeseen.”

The NFL has already opened an investigation into the allegations, and there was a report this week that the league is strongly considering placing Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list. The more time that passes, the less likely that seems unless some new information comes out.

In addition to the NFL’s investigation, prosecutors in Pennsylvania are also planning to look into the claims made by Britney Taylor, who says Brown sexually assaulted her on two separate occasions in 2017 and raped her in 2018. You can read more about the details of the allegations here.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday that the team is taking things one day at a time with Brown, but the fact that he is practicing would seemingly indicate they plan on him playing.

Could Antonio Brown now have guarantees voided by Patriots?

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown practiced with the Patriots on Wednesday on the heels of a lawsuit that was filed claiming he sexually assaulted a woman on multiple occasions, but his status with both the team and NFL going forward remains a mystery. After Brown had his contract guarantees voided over all the drama he caused in Oakland, it’s fair to wonder if he could be headed down the same path in New England.

Albert Breer of The MMQB obtained a copy of Brown’s contract on Wednesday, and the language in it states that the guaranteed money can be voided if the player “takes any action that materially undermines the public’s respect for, or is materially critical of, the Club, the Player’s teammates or the Club’s ownership, coaches.”

Of course, Brown’s legal team and agent have vehemently denied the allegations. Britney Taylor, the woman who filed the civil lawsuit, says she passed a lie detector test that showed she was telling the truth when she said Brown sexually assaulted her on two separate occasions in 2017 and raped her in 2018. You can read more about the allegations here.

Pennsylvania prosecutors are now also looking into the allegations against Brown, so his Patriots contract will be the least of his worries if evidence proves Taylor is telling the truth. However, it’s also noteworthy that Drew Rosenhaus said Wednesday that he and Brown have been “unfortunately anticipating this possibility.”

That could also spell trouble for Brown, as the Patriots reportedly had no knowledge of the allegations prior to Tuesday. If Brown did, they might be able to argue that he and Rosenhaus had a responsibility to disclose that information before the two sides agreed to a contract.

We know from the details of Brown’s contract that he didn’t exactly give the Patriots a discount. If the allegations against him turn out to be true, the team will almost certainly explore ways to recoup some of that money.

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

Don’t miss any news about Antonio Brown
Subscribe to our newsletter
– Download the Larry Brown Sports app on your iOS device
– Follow Larry Brown Sports on Twitter
Join our Facebook group