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New England Patriots release Antonio Brown

New England Patriots Practice
Antonio Brown practices with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Wednesday. He was released Friday.
(Boston Globe)

The New England Patriots released Antonio Brown on Friday, cutting ties with the controversial receiver as abruptly as they signed him two weeks earlier.
The team released a statement reading: “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, 31, who forced his way out of his contract with Oakland after he had been traded from Pittsburgh, is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, accusations he has denied.

The legal troubles surfaced for Brown shortly after he signed a one-year deal with the Patriots on Sept. 7. Britney Taylor, a gymnast from Memphis, Tenn., filed a civil lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault and rape spanning three incidents. According to the suit, Brown and Taylor met in 2010 when they both student-athletes at Central Michigan.

The filing says the two reconnected in 2017 when Brown “indicated he wanted Ms. Taylor’s help improving flexibility and strength in his ankles and fast twitch muscles — areas in which she had developed expertise through gymnastics.”

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The allegations stem from subsequent encounters between the two.

On Monday, a second Brown accuser surfaced, alleging that the player made an unwanted sexual advance toward her in 2017. Brown is accused of sending that woman disturbing texts Wednesday after the report came out.

After he was released by the Patriots, Brown posted on Twitter and Instagram, thanking quarterback Tom Brady and Coach Bill Belichick and saying, “That was fun.” He played in one game for New England on Sunday, catching four passes for 56 yards in a 43-0 drubbing of Miami.

“It’s unfortunate things didn’t work out with the Patriots,” agent Drew Rosenhaus wrote on Twitter. “But Antonio is healthy and 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.”

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In response, the NFL issued the following statement:

“Antonio Brown was released today by the New England Patriots and is currently an unrestricted free agent. Our office is presently investigating multiple allegations, some of which are the subject of pending litigation. We have as yet made no findings regarding these issues. The investigation is ongoing and will be pursued vigorously and expeditiously.

“As long as Mr. Brown is a free agent, placement on the Commissioner’s exempt list not appropriate. If he signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, he may also be subject to discipline if the investigation finds that he has violated the law or league policies.”


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