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The New England Patriots have released star wide receiver Antonio Brown less than two weeks after signing him, the team announced Friday.
Brown, a seven-time pro bowler who forced his way out of Oakland before the start of the season, was accused of sexual assault by a former trainer in a civil suit last week. The NFL is investigating the matter, but Brown has remained eligible to play and made his debut for the Patriots in a Week 2 win over the Miami Dolphins.
“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.”
A pair of Sports Illustrated reports this week — one noting other sexual misconduct allegations and another detailing how Brown allegedly “threatened” one accuser in a group text — hoisted doubt on Brown’s eligibility to play going forward. The league had previously considered putting him on the commissioner’s exempt list.
The NFL met with Brown’s accuser in the civil lawsuit, Britney Taylor, on Monday (USA TODAY Sports does not identify victims of sexual assault unless they come forward themselves, as Taylor has done). The league has also been in contact with the lawyers of the woman who Brown allegedly texted this week.
More to come …