Patriots release WR Antonio Brown amid allegations

The Antonio Brown era in New England lasted less than two weeks and just one game.

The Patriots released the wide receiver on Friday amid allegations of sexual assault.

"The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown," the team said in a statement. "We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time."

Brown took to social media immediately following news of his release breaking. The receiver thanked New England for the opportunity, alongside photos of his lone game played with the team.

Brown spent just 11 days with the organization after he was released by the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 7. He agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots that day and signed it on Sept. 9. Brown's deal included a $9 million signing bonus, but it wasn't all due at signing, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. It's unclear how much New England compensated Brown for his short stay in Foxborough.

"It's unfortunate things didn't work out with the Patriots," Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, tweeted following the receiver's release. "But Antonio is healthy and is looking forward to his next opportunity in the NFL. He wants to play the game he loves and he hopes to play for another team soon."

Brown was productive on the field in his short time with New England. The receiver played 21 snaps in the Patriots' 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins, recording four catches on eight targets for 56 yards and a touchdown.

But AB's time in New England was more fraught with off-the-field issues than on-field action.

The receiver was accused by a former trainer, Britney Taylor, of rape and sexual assault in a civil lawsuit filed on Sept. 10. The league is currently investigating the allegations. Taylor spoke with league investigators on Monday.

On Thursday night, more allegations were levied against Brown. A female artist, who was hired to paint a mural in Brown's Pittsburgh home in 2017, came forward to Sports Illustrated earlier in the week with accusations regarding the wide receiver making past unwanted advances toward her. In text messages presented to S.I. on Thursday evening, Brown questioned the accuser's allegations and encouraged those in the group text chain to investigate her.

The NFL is also investigating those allegations and the text messages sent by Brown, the league confirmed Friday evening.

"Our office is presently investigating multiple allegations, some of which are the subject of pending litigation," an NFL spokesman said in a statement. "We have as yet made no findings regarding these issues. The investigation is ongoing and will be pursued vigorously and expeditiously.

"As long as Mr. Brown is a free agent, placement on the Commissioner's exempt list is not appropriate. If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, he may also be subject to discipline if the investigation finds that he has violated the law or league policies."

When asked earlier Friday about the new allegations, Patriots coach Bill Belichick declined to comment on the matter.

"I know there are questions about Antonio [Brown]," Belichick said. "We take all the situations with our team very seriously. There are some things we're looking into. But I'm not going to have any comment on the off-the-field situations or questions on that."

Asked about what Brown's role would be in New England's Week 3 game against the New York Jets, Belichick said, "Uh, no. I'm not going to get into that. We're going to do what's best for our team like we always do."

Five hours later, Brown was released.

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