Free-agent WR Antonio Brown works out for Saints

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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Having already clinched a spot in the postseason, the Saints might be adding one of the most talented -- yet controversial -- wide receivers in the game. At the very least, they're giving him a look.

Free-agent wideout Antonio Brown is visiting the Saints today, a source confirmed to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Friday morning, as Brown previously posted on Instagram.

Later on Friday, coach Sean Payton told reporters the Saints brought in six receivers for workouts, but they would not be adding anyone to the roster at the present, including Brown.

"No, not now," Payton told reporters. "We had six guys in today really. Six receivers that we worked out. A few of them were practice squad eligible. A few of them were veteran players. We worked them out. Gave them physicals. Mainly doing our due diligence on all of those players. Obviously, there's a little bit more attention drawn to him because of his career, but right now it's more or less us having a chance to get to know these guys and seeing what kind of shape they're all in."

Not surprisingly, Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus said the visit was a positive one.

"Antonio had a very good visit today and we will continue our discussions with the Saints," Rosenhaus told Rapoport on Friday afternoon.

Brown has not played since Week 2 for the New England Patriots against the Miami Dolphins. His stay with the Patriots lasted two weeks and one day before he was released on Sept. 20 amid allegations of sexual assault.

As Rapoport added, the NFL has made it clear that if a team signs Brown, he's likely to be headed to the Commissioner's Exempt List until his sexual assault investigation is complete. Payton also told reporters Friday they would need to get clarity from the league whether Brown would be eligible for the playoffs if they were to sign Brown.

Payton is unaware as to whether Brown would be eligible for the playoffs.

"That's a good question," he said. "That's the information we have to get from the league if we were to go down that road. We don't have that yet."

Brown's short stay with the Raiders was fraught with drama that included multiple grievances with the NFL over having to wear a mandated helmet, frostbitten feet preventing him from practicing and a confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock over fines.

His time in New England ran simultaneously to accusations of sexual assault coming out. Multiple accusers have alleged sexual assault and the NFL is investigating the allegations.

On the field, Brown's contributions are stellar, as he's a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and had seven 1,000-yard seasons with the Steelers, including six in a row to end his tenure. The last half-dozen seasons also saw him tally more than 100 catches.

Should the Saints sign him before the year ends next week, this would be Brown's fourth team within the calendar year, which has been a tumultuous one. Brown was traded from the Steelers to the Raiders in the offseason and was then released by Oakland just two days prior to their season opener on Monday night. On the same day he was released by the Raiders, he was signed by the Patriots.

Now an unknown future presents itself with an opportunity in New Orleans. The NFC South champion features future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, perhaps the top wide receiver in the game in Michael Thomas, who has set the single-season NFL receptions record, running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Jared Cook. However, the Saints are still absent a bona fide No. 2 receiver.

"We do our homework with every player," Payton said. "We understand this locker room and this culture and we do our work ourselves."

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