Antonio Brown will be eligible to play for the Patriots on Sunday, reports say

New England Patriots Practice
Newly signed New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown, wearing the number 1, makes his debut at New England Patriots practice at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Wednesday. Behind him is new teammate Gunner Olszewski.
(Jim Davis/Boston Globe)

Antonio Brown is under investigation by the NFL after being accused of rape earlier this week, but it appears he will be eligible to play his first game with the New England Patriots on Sunday.

According to multiple media reports, Brown will not be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list at this time.

Had the league taken such an action, Brown would have received payment on the one-year contract he signed Monday with the Patriots, worth up to $15 million, but would not have been permitted to attend any of the team’s practices or games.

Former trainer Brittney Taylor said in a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida that Brown sexually assaulted her on three occasions. Brown has denied the allegation and his attorney has said the player plans to countersue.


No criminal investigation is taking place at this time.

Taylor has said she will cooperate with the league’s investigation.

Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl receiver, was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders during the offseason. After a tumultuous summer, he was cut by Oakland on Saturday and signed with New England hours later.

Brown first practiced with the Patriots on Wednesday. Coach Bill Belichick would not tell reporters Friday whether or not Brown would see any game action Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.


“We’ll do what’s best for the team,” Belichick said.

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