FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots and star wide receiver Antonio Brown have parted ways after just one game amid multiple misconduct allegations.
Antonio Brown thanked the Patriots in a tweet shortly after 4 p.m. Friday, writing, "Thanks for the opportunity appreciate @Patriots."
Moments later, the Patriots confirmed the move in a statement:
"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."
In two Instagram posts Friday directed toward head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, Brown wrote, "Appreciate ya," to Belichick, and "Love ya champ that was fun ! #GoWinIt #DoitforMe" to Brady.
TB12, who has frequently interacted with Brown's posts over the two weeks since his acquisition, commented with three heart emojis.
The four-time All-Pro seemingly wrapped up his reflections on the short-lived Foxborough stay by tweeting, "The marathon continues."
Then, less than two hours later, considered the timing:
Embroiled in controversy since training camp, Brown was released by the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 7 and signed by New England to a one-year deal.
A civil lawsuit filed three days later by an ex-trainer accused Brown of sexually assaulting and raping her. Brown through his lawyer denied the allegations.
This week, a second accuser came forward through a Sports Illustrated report, alleging that Brown exposed himself to her while she was painting in 2017.
Brown also denied that allegation.
As for what's next for Brown, it's anybody's guess. The now unrestricted free agent is available to any team that wants him, given that a demand still exists.
The NFL released its own statement Friday night, explaining that as long as Brown was a free agent, placement on the commissioner's exempt list was unnecessary. In the event Brown is signed, the league said it would then decide if putting him on the list is appropriate. The allegations were also mentioned.
"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," the NFL's statement on Brown said. "Upon the conclusion of the investigation, [Brown] may also be subject to discipline if the investigation finds that he has violated the law or league policies."
An analysis from ESPN Boston reporter Field Yates broke down how much money Brown is likely to lose. Per Yates, if Brown doesn't end up getting his $9 million signing bonus – $5 million of which he was scheduled to receive Monday – he'll in retrospect go from $30 million in March to just $158,333 in 2019.
In his debut in Week 2 against the Dolphins, AB led the team in receiving with four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. He added 5 yards in rushing.
Brown's departure doesn't come as a huge blow for a team that has so far this season outscored its opponents 76-3. The Patriots remain deep at receiver with Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett.
AB was an official member of the Patriots for 11 days.
New England takes on division foe New York at home Sunday.
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