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New England Patriots release Antonio Brown amid sexual assault allegations

By
Connor Grott
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown was signed by the team two weeks ago. He played in one game with the Patriots. Photo by Rhona Wise/EPA-EFE
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown was signed by the team two weeks ago. He played in one game with the Patriots. Photo by Rhona Wise/EPA-EFE

Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The New England Patriots released star wide receiver Antonio Brown on Friday, less than two weeks after signing him.

In a statement released by the team, the Patriots said it was "best to move in a different direction."

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"The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown," the statement said. "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, who practiced with the team earlier Friday, tweeted his gratitude to the franchise shortly before the Patriots announced the move. Later, he tweeted out, "the marathon continues" and "just got fired on Friday."

In a civil lawsuit filed last week in the Southern District of Florida, Brown's former trainer, Britney Taylor, accused him of sexual assault on three separate occasions. Brown has denied the allegations.

Taylor's lawsuit says two of the incidents occurred in June 2017 and another in May 2018. One of the alleged 2017 incidents occurred in Pittsburgh, where Brown played for the Steelers for nine seasons. The other allegations, which included rape, took place in Florida.

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The NFL is investigating the matter and interviewed Taylor for about 10 hours Monday, according to CBS Boston. It remains unclear when or if Brown will interview with the league.

In addition to the civil lawsuit, Brown faces another allegation of sexual misconduct by an unnamed female artist who was working at his Pennsylvania home in 2017. The allegation was part of a Sports Illustrated report that detailed domestic incidents involving Brown, along with multiple unpaid debts and a charity auction theft.

League sources told Sports Illustrated the lawyer for the artist recently reached out to the NFL after Brown allegedly sent threatening text messages to her client. Both sides talked Friday morning, with the unnamed artist's attorney saying in a statement that the league "pledged to conduct a thorough investigation under its personal conduct policy."

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Brown, 31, made his debut for the Patriots on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. The receiver was expected to make his Gillette Stadium debut Sunday when the Patriots were scheduled to host the New York Jets.

Brown joined the Patriots on Sept. 9 after being released by the Oakland Raiders, who originally acquired him from the Steelers in an off-season trade.

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