Following a rant on Twitter in which Antonio Brown once again declared that he is done with the NFL, he is pushing for a return to the football field. However, a new report suggests that achieving this goal will be far more difficult. League sources have even revealed that a return in 2019 is unlikely.
Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, there are many roadblocks that Brown would have to overcome in order to take part in a game this season. The first of these is his upcoming meeting with the NFL. He is scheduled to meet with the league on Thursday to discuss the sexual assault allegations against him.
While Brown and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, both expect the league to clear him following this meeting, it may not be a simple matter. League sources have told Schefter that Brown has not turned over all of the requested evidence.
The former New England Patriots wide receiver is being investigated by the NFL due to a lawsuit filed by his former personal trainer, Britney Taylor. She alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Brown on multiple occasions in both Pittsburgh and Miami. Brown was also accused of sexual misconduct by an artist in 2017.
That being said, the case is only proceeding in Florida. The Allegheny County DA (Pennsylvania) said in early October that there was a statute of limitations on allegations of sexual assault and that they couldn't proceed with the investigation.
Brown has been served lawsuit papers from Taylor. In response, he has hired attorney Camille Blanton to handle the case. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, as well as Brown's meeting with the league on Thursday, there is a scenario in which he could be removed from action upon signing with a new team.
According to Schefter's sources, there are three franchises that have been in contact with Brown and could be interested in signing him. Although the league is reportedly prepared to place Brown on the commissioner's exempt list. This would keep him out of action for the foreseeable future but would still require the team in question to pay his salary.
NFL teams believe that additional discipline could be handed down to Brown, per Schefter, which would possibly keep him unavailable until the 2020 season. Obviously, everything depends on the league's investigation, as well as the case between Brown and Taylor, but the 31-year-old receiver is not expected back in action over the final half of the 2019 season.
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