New England Patriots release Antonio Brown amid NFL investigation
Brown the subject of rape accusation and harassment allegations, and denies all claims made against him; "He wants to play the game he loves," says Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus
By Blake Welton
Last Updated: 21/09/19 7:40am
The New England Patriots have released Antonio Brown with immediate effect amid an NFL investigation into off-field allegations against the wide receiver.
It comes just two weeks after the current Super Bowl champions signed the 31-year-old following his release by the Oakland Raiders.
Brown is currently at the centre of harassment allegations, accused of rape in a lawsuit filed in Florida by his former trainer Britney Taylor, who waived her right to anonymity.
A second, unnamed, woman has since come forward accusing him of an unwanted sexual advance in 2017 and then of sending threatening text messages related to the allegations.
Brown featured in New England's win at Miami last Sunday where he scored a touchdown, with head coach Bill Belichick earlier refusing to discuss the issue at a press conference ahead of Sunday's game with the New York Jets.
"I know there are questions about Antonio," he 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."
Following Brown's release, the NFL issued a statement confirming an investigation into the allegations is ongoing.
The NFL statement said: "Antonio Brown was released today by the New England Patriots and is currently an unrestricted free agent. Our office is presently investigating multiple allegations, some of which are the subject of pending litigation. 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."
Brown denies the claims and has since taken to social media, thanking the Patriots for the opportunity before going on to say: "Sometimes people try to destroy you precisely because they recognise your power. If I'm lying then I'm flying "
Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus also issued a statement: "It's unfortunate things didn't work out with the Patriots.
"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 will not face prosecution
- Brown denies sexual misconduct allegation
- NFL to meet Brown rape accuser
Brown has been one of the NFL's premier pass-catchers since being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, having recorded over 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last six seasons and seven of his nine years in the league.
He has also reached double figures for touchdowns on four occasions and has regular-season totals of 841 catches for 11,263 yards and 75 touchdowns in his career.
He was traded from the Steelers to the Raiders in March in a cut-price deal worth third- and fifth-round draft picks, before being released by Oakland after a short and tumultuous spell.