FOXBORO (CBS) – Controversial wide receiver Antonio Brown is expected to make his New England Patriots debut on Sunday after a week on the practice field in Foxboro. But his eligibility to play going forward remains up in the air.
Brown’s former trainer, Britney Taylor, filed a civil complaint against Brown earlier this week, accusing the receiver of sexually assaulting her multiple times in 2017 and 2018. Brown has denied all the allegations.
The NFL has not yet opted to place Brown on the Commisioner’s Exempt list, which would make him ineligible to play pending its investigation. But Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Sunday morning that could change still, even as early as this week.
Rapoport said the Patriots did not know Taylor’s lawsuit was in the works, and the NFL did not either until it was reported last week. Rapoport writes that if the Patriots did know about the allegations, owner Robert Kraft “would not have signed off on the signing.”
According to Rapoport, Taylor is scheduled to meet with the NFL on Monday. Taylor’s lawsuit claims another football player who is a rookie was in the house when one of the alleged incidents took place. The league will attempt to speak with that player as well.
Brown practiced with the Patriots all week, and Rapoport says the Patriots “plan to feed him” during Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. But the wide receiver’s playing status going forward remains subject to change, pending the league’s investigation.
ESPN’s Jeff Darlington also reported on Sunday that Brown and his accuser began settlement discussions back in April. Brown was given a deadline of last Sunday night to sign a $2 million settlement that would have ended the claims against him, but Brown chose not to sign it.
Antonio Brown entered into settlement discussions in April, which included mediation in May, culminating in a deadline last Sunday night to sign a monetary agreement that would end the sexual assault claims against him. He chose not to sign it.
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— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) September 15, 2019
CBS Boston does not ordinarily name the alleged victims of sex assault, however, through her attorney, Taylor released a public statement which included her name. She was also identified in the federal lawsuit.