Patriots release WR Antonio Brown
The Patriots announced they are cutting the controversial wide receiver Friday afternoon, just five days after Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and scored a touchdown in his debut with the team.
"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 it is best to move in a different direction at this time."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick abruptly left his news conference earlier Friday after being asked repeated questions concerning Brown.
"I know there are questions about Antonio," Belichick said, via NBCSportsBoston.com. "We take all the situations with our team very seriously. There are some things we're looking into."
After answering a couple of general questions that stemmed from Brown's situation, Belichick said he would talk football. After another Brown-related question was asked, Belichick said: "I'm good. Thank you."
An offseason full of tumult and controversy carried over into the regular season for Brown. On Thursday, Sports Illustrated reported that a female artist who leveled claims earlier this week that Brown made unwanted sexual advances before firing her contacted the NFL claiming the 31-year-old wide receiver sent her "intimidating and threatening" texts.
Britney Taylor, Brown's former trainer, filed a civil suit last week accusing him of three incidents of sexual assault or rape over a two-year period from 2017-18. According to multiple reports, the league met with Taylor for 10 hours on Monday as it investigates the accusations, and a meeting with Brown was expected at some point.
The Patriots signed Brown earlier this month just hours after the Oakland Raiders released him. It was reportedly a one-year, $15 million deal with a $9 million signing bonus. Prior to his release, Brown spent training camp in and out of Raiders facilities, rehabbing a frostbite-like condition on his feet after a cryotherapy mishap, filing grievances with the NFL over his helmet, arguing with team management (reportedly calling general manager Mike Mayock a cracker), and posting a recorded conversation with Raiders coach Jon Gruden to YouTube.
In 10 NFL seasons (the first nine with Pittsburgh), Brown has caught 841 balls for 11,263 yards and 75 touchdowns. He is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro.
The 2-0 Patriots host the 0-2 New York Jets on Sunday.