Antonio Brown practiced with the New England Patriots for the first time on Wednesday, only one day after a former trainer accused him of sexual assault and rape.
The NFL plans to conduct an investigation into the allegations against Brown. The Patriots said in a statement on Tuesday, that they take the charges “very seriously.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke to reporters before practice, but refused to speak on the specific allegations against Brown beyond what the Patriots said in their official statement.
“Antonio and his representatives have made statements, so I’m not going to be expanding on any of those,” Belichick said. “They are what they are. We’ve looked into the situation. We’re taking it very seriously all the way through the organization. I’m sure there are questions, but I’m not going to enter into a discussion about that.”
“Brown has denied the allegations. Darren Heitner, a lawyer representing Brown, told The Associated Press his client plans to countersue. The NFL has declined comment but will be opening an investigation into the matter,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post’s Mark Maske reported that the NFL was giving “serious consideration” to placing Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list. A function of the commissioner’s office in which he can prevent a player from participating in his team’s practices or games, while an investigation is underway.
Should Brown be placed on the list, he would not be eligible to continue practicing or play, in New England’s game against Miami this weekend. However, Brown would still receive a regular paycheck despite not being able to participate.
After being traded from Pittsburgh to Oakland in the off-season, Brown found himself released by the Raiders after a series of bizarre incidents that included a dispute with the league over the type of helmet he as allowed to wear, and a heated altercation with Oakland General Manager Mike Mayock.
The Patriots signed Brown on Saturday, only hours after the Raiders cut him.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn