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NFL meets with Antonio Brown's second accuser

Editor's note: Brown posted on Twitter later Sunday morning that he's done playing in the NFL.

The New England Patriots moved on from Antonio Brown Friday afternoon, unceremoniously releasing him after just one game. But the NFL's investigation into allegations against him continues, without the truncated time window brought upon by games.

Case in point: While the Patriots were cutting him, NFL investigators were finishing up their interview with a second accuser -- a female artist who Sports Illustrated reported Brown had included in a text group asking his friends to dig into her past. As the materials she provided were being reviewed by league personnel, the Patriots cut him.

On Monday, the NFL interviewed Brown's first accuser, Britney Taylor, who claims in a civil suit that Brown assaulted her twice before raping her. Through his lawyer, Brown denies all allegations.

"The investigation is ongoing and will be pursued vigorously and expeditiously," the league said in a statement.

Brown is now a free agent, his next job unlikely to come until the investigation into allegations of rape and sexual misconduct are over. Criminal charges have not been filed. The NFL did not put him on the Commissioner's Exempt List and, as the league said in a recent statement, as long as he's a free agent, he won't be placed on the list. There is no need.

The league had considered it at the time of the release, but was not quite there yet. If Brown is signed by a team, he could be placed on the list at any time. That almost certainly will serve as a deterrent to future employers.

The decision to release Brown was led by owner Robert Kraft, sources say, sparked by the text messages that came to light Friday and by the thought that the end was not near. Several players privately voiced their displeasure that the move was made, as Brown had made a positive impression on teammates in a short time. He did things in practice no one else could do.

When Brown first landed in New England, he signed a contract with $10 million guaranteed -- $9 million in a signing bonus. While he earned two game checks, the first check for $5 million of his signing bonus was due Monday, Sept. 23.

The belief from all parties is that the Patriots will not cut the check, withholding the money instead and forcing Brown to file a grievance for money he believes was fully guaranteed.

Thanks in part to confidential settlement talks with the first accuser that were ongoing when he signed, Brown did not disclose the accusations to the Patriots, and the Patriots tie the signing bonus language to forfeiture language. Their argument will likely be that he did not come clean on an issue that altered his ability to play.

Sources have said the Patriots would not have signed Brown had they known of the pending issues.

That issue is likely to be played out in the courts, with Brown expected to fight for his $10 million guaranteed. Meanwhile, the Patriots will play today without their dominant storyline in uniform.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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