Patriots release receiver Antonio Brown

Friday - 20/09/2019 18:49
Antonio Brown at practice on Wednesday.JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF/GLOBE STAFF
Antonio Brown at practice on Wednesday.JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF/GLOBE STAFF
After a tumultuous week and a half, Antonio Brown has been released by the Patriots.

The 31-year-old wide receiver agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the team Sept. 7 and just days later was served with a civil lawsuit filed by a former trainer who alleges that he raped her in May 2018.

Brown played his first and only game in a Patriots uniform last Sunday, catching four passes for 56 yards in a 43-0 rout of the Dolphins.

The team released a statement, saying: “The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. 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.”

Hours before Brown was released, head coach Bill Belichick told reporters that the team was “looking into some things” regarding Brown, but declined to comment on the player’s actions or the allegations against him.

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On Monday, a second accuser had alleged that Brown made an unwanted sexual advance toward her in 2017. Brown allegedly sent that woman disturbing texts Wednesday after the report came out.

Lisa J. Banks, a lawyer for the woman involved in the latest incident, wrote to the NFL that her client, an artist, “is understandably frightened by these text messages, which are clearly intended to threaten and intimidate her, in violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy,’’ according to Sports Illustrated.

The magazine reported that the NFL swiftly responded to the complaint, and later Friday added that league officials told the artist’s legal team that the Patriots directed Brown to “have no further contact with our client, either directly or through his associates.”

Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner, had previously said that Brown denied the artist’s claim of sexual misconduct.

The allegations on Monday followed the news that Britney Taylor, the woman who filed the civil suit against Brown, was interviewed by NFL officials for 10 hours as part of their investigation into her claims. At the time, a league source said that the NFL had not yet scheduled an interview with Brown.

Related: Read the entire lawsuit filed against Antonio Brown

The controversy swirling around Brown presented a public relations challenge for the Patriots, whose owner, Robert Kraft, and team president, Jonathan Kraft, have placed a high priority on protecting the image of their multibillion-dollar franchise.

After signing with the Patriots, Brown spoke just once to the media, on Thursday; he answered just four questions and did not comment on the civil suit.

Brown’s one-year contract was structured with a $1.5 million salary, $4.5 million in incentives, and a $9 million signing bonus, $5 million of which was due him next Monday.

Brown posted on Twitter and Instagram following his release, thanking Tom Brady and saying “that was fun,” along with the hashtags #GoWinIt and #DoitforMe:

On Twitter, he thanked Belichick:
 

 

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said on Twitter that Brown is “looking forward to his next opportunity in the NFL. He wants to play the game he loves and he hopes to play for another team soon.”

Brown, who was released by the Raiders Sept. 7 after a preseason filled with drama, could sign with another team. But a league spokesman confirmed that the NFL would continue to investigate the allegations against him, even if Brown does not sign with another team.


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 Keywords: NFL

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