Antonio Brown has been released by the New England Patriots, the team have announced.
The controversial wide receiver only signed with the Super Bowl champions on September 9, two days after being released by the Oakland Raiders without playing a game.
Brown was then 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 accused him of an unwanted sexual advance in 2017 and then of sending threatening text messages related to the allegations. Claims Brown denies.
A Patriots statement on Friday evening read: “The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown.
“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.”
The 31-year-old played in only one game for the Patriots, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins.
He tweeted after his release: “Thank you for the opportunity @Patriots #GoWinIt”
Just got fired on Friday 🤔🤷🏾♂️🤦🏿♂️— AB (@AB84) September 20, 2019
Pats coach Bill Belichick had earlier refused 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.”
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.
Brown suffered frostbite on his feet during cryotherapy treatment and was then absent from training sessions while in dispute with the NFL over his desire to use an outdated and banned model of helmet.
The Raiders fined and suspended the receiver over the latter issue before voiding the guaranteed money in his contract and cutting him. He agreed terms with the Patriots just hours later.
Brown has also lost sponsorship deals with his new helmet manufacturer Xenith and sportswear company Nike in the wake of the allegations.
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