When the New England Patriots signed Antonio Brown to a one-year contract, the expectation was that he would immediately head to the team facility and get to work. Well, a portion of this belief was correct as the former Oakland Raiders trade acquisition did ultimately head to New England. However, his practice status has been in question since signing, especially after former personal trainer, Britney Taylor filed a lawsuit alleging rape and sexual assault.
Belichick has provided an update about Brown's continuing status with the team. As he told reporters on Wednesday, the new Patriots receiver will indeed be at practice. According to Sports Illustrated, Belichick said, "Both Antonio (Brown) and his representative have made statements ... We've looked into the situation, we're taking it very seriously."
At this point, the future is uncertain for Brown, especially as the league weighs in on potential discipline. Pro Football Talk reported on Wednesday morning that the NFL is giving "serious consideration" to putting Brown on the exempt list as the investigation proceeds. Doing so would make him ineligible to appear in week two's game against the Miami Dolphins, as well as any others on the schedule until he is moved back onto the active roster.
"We are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio’s representatives," the Patriots said in a statement on the matter. "We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstance does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place."
Ultimately, how the investigation proceeds will determine Brown's status with the team heading into the heart of the 2019 season. If the league finds any reason to warrant putting him on the exempt list or handing down a punishment, they will likely do so.
During this time, however, Belichick will avoid questions about his receiver while trying to focus on the upcoming opponent. He has other matters to consider at this trying time, and the reporters can no longer expect answers when they bring up Brown.
For the Oakland Raiders and the players, they are simply happy that this is not something they need to consider. According to ESPN, several players in the Raiders locker room shook their heads in disappointment about the Brown news, and said, "not our problem anymore."