Read and React: This is the Antonio Brown the Patriots signed up for

Kevin Kaduk
Yahoo Sports
(USA TODAY Sports)
(USA TODAY Sports)


[This is an excerpt from the Yahoo Sports’ Read and React Newsletter. Subscribe here]

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Late Monday night, Jon Gruden offered two words of advice to the Patriots as they welcomed Antonio Brown into the fold.

"Good luck," he said.

Less than 24 hours later, Bill Belichick may have finally fully realized why Gruden sent that message — not to mention just how much of a Faustian bargain this Brown signing may turn out to be.

Any hopes that Brown would fall into lockstep with the Patriot Way and become a faceless cog in a march for a seventh ring disappeared on Tuesday night as the All-Pro receiver was accused of three separate incidents of sexual assault. The allegations were made by Brown's former trainer Britney Taylor in a lawsuit filed in federal court and include an alleged forcible rape in 2018.

The lawsuit included profane emails confirming at least one of the incidents that were alleged to have come from Brown.

Brown's lawyer Darren Heitner responded with a denial of each count and contended the sex in 2018 was consensual. Deeming the lawsuit as nothing but a "money grab," Heitner said Brown could respond with countersuits against his accuser.

The Patriots can't be that surprised

Brown's arrival in New England was met with Tom Brady offering up his house for Brown's use and Belichick comparing the signing to the addition of Randy Moss more than a decade earlier.

The emergence of this story shows the Patriots absorbing Brown into their plans were foolishly shortsighted and not worth the risk of adding someone whose behavior has been consistently erratic.

Now, maybe you'll say that the Patriots could not have expected charges this severe after the relatively trivial incidents that ran him out of Oakland. But if that endless parade of nonsense from frostbitten feet to threatening the GM taught us anything, it was that anything and everything is on the table with Brown.

At worst, Brown is guilty of criminal behavior and should never play in the league again. At best, he jeopardized both his reputation and the success of his teams by associating with someone who would resort to extortion.

Either way, this story seems far from over and both sides seem ready to sling as much mud in public as necessary.

The Patriots, meanwhile, claimed they were 'caught by surprise' by the allegations, and released a tepid no-further-comment statement late Tuesday night. For now, they're stuck in the middle, and there isn't a soul outside of New England who will feel sorry for them as they get pelted.

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