Brown out: Pats cut WR amid off-field allegations

NFL

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots released embattled wide receiver Antonio Brown on Friday, less than two weeks after signing him.

“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,” the team said in a statement.

Brown, who had practiced with the team earlier Friday, tweeted his thanks to the organization shortly before the move was announced.

Brown has been accused of sexually assaulting his former trainer, Britney Taylor, according to a civil lawsuit she filed Sept. 10, a day after the Patriots officially signed him. A source previously told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington that Brown declined to sign a $2 million-plus agreement with Taylor in a proposed settlement.

Taylor met with the NFL on Sept. 16. A source had previously told ESPN that there are “more interviews and information gathering being conducted now beyond Taylor.”

It remains unclear when or if Brown will interview with the league.

In addition to the lawsuit, Brown faces another allegation of sexual misconduct by a female artist who was working at his Western Pennsylvania home in 2017. That allegation was part of a Sports Illustrated report published Monday that detailed domestic incidents involving Brown, a charity auction theft and multiple unpaid debts.

On Thursday, the lawyer for the artist reached out to the NFL after Brown apparently sent what were described as threatening text messages to her client.

According to a statement from the woman’s attorneys Friday, the Patriots then directed Brown to have no further contact with the woman.

Brown made his debut with the Patriots last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, totaling four catches for 56 yards and one touchdown.

On Thursday, Brown answered four questions from reporters, which marked the first time he had addressed the media since joining the Patriots. He was not directly asked about the civil lawsuit, or the allegation of sexual misconduct.

“I’m just here to focus on ball,” Brown said in an interview that lasted just one minute, when asked if he had heard from the NFL about his availability.

The Patriots had agreed to pay Brown a $9 million signing bonus, which was divided into two parts — $5 million that was due to be paid Sept. 23 (Monday) and $4 million that wasn’t due to be paid until Jan. 15.

Without Brown, the Patriots have Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett and undrafted Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski on the wide receiver depth chart, with special teams captain Matthew Slater a niche/emergency option.

New England is 2-0 this season, winning both games by a combined 76-3. The defending Super Bowl champs host the New York Jets on Sunday.

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