The New England Patriots chapter of Antonio Brown’s absurd 2019 came to a close on Friday as the team released him following his reported attempt to inappropriately contact a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.
Brown has now exited three teams this year — the Patriots, Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers — on negative terms. However, Brown becoming a free agent again doesn’t mean the NFL’s investigation into his other sexual misconduct allegations are going away anytime soon.
Investigation into sexual assault allegations against Antonio Brown continues
Shortly after Brown’s release, the NFL announced that its investigation into sexual assault and rape allegations against the free agent is still ongoing. The allegations stem from the lawsuit filed last week by his former trainer Britney Taylor.
Additionally, the NFL said it could also sideline Brown if he signs with a new team before the end of its investigation by placing him on the commissioner’s exempt list.
Statement of Antonio Brown’s status from the NFL: pic.twitter.com/veWL9TwLD6
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 21, 2019
Players on the commissioner’s exempt list can still be paid, but are prohibited from playing in a game or practicing with their team. You can imagine how that kind of potential situation might discourage what few teams are still interested in Brown from signing him.
As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, Brown’s career has been effectively put on pause as both the NFL’s investigation and proceedings for Taylor’s lawsuit continue.
NFL now can conduct its investigation of Antonio Brown without any time pressure. It's hard to imagine another team would attempt to get in the way of that. So Brown's NFL career is on pause and possibly could even be over.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2019
The NFL recently took a major step in its investigation against Brown by interviewing Taylor, who accused Brown of forcibly raping her in 2018. She also accused him of exposing himself to her and kissing her without her consent, then later masturbating onto her back while she watched a church service on her iPad in 2017.
Taylor’s allegations emerged shortly after Brown signed his deal with the Patriots, but the teams still kept him aboard. The NFL also declined to place him on the commissioner’s exempt list at that point, allowing him to play in Week 2.
Brown’s reported attempt to contact another woman who accused him of advancing on her while wearing nothing but a towel and texting photos of her children to his associates eventually proved to be the final straw for the Patriots.
Despite all of those pending matters, Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus still clarified on Twitter that Brown hopes to play with another team soon.
It's unfortunate things didn't work out with the Patriots. 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.
— Drew Rosenhaus (@RosenhausSports) September 20, 2019
We’ll see if any team is interested in a player that is facing a sexual assault lawsuit and suspension, has incinerated every bridge in sight over the last year and would possibly be prohibited from playing but still get paid if brought on board.
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