BOSTON (CBS) — When Bill Belichick takes the podium in Foxboro, he does so with the intention of solely discussing football. He made that clear last week, and he made it clear once again on Friday.
Belichick showed up for his Friday morning press conference at Gillette Stadium to a larger-than-usual crowd of reporters.
“Big Friday crowd, huh?” Belichick said before getting into detail about the Jets and the upcoming matchup on Sunday.
Obviously aware of the latest story regarding Antonio Brown, Belichick said that he would not be fielding any questions about off-field activity.
“I know there are questions about Antonio,” Belichick said. “We take all the situations with our team very seriously, and there are some things that we’re looking into, but I’m not going to have any comment on any of the off-the-field situations or questions on that. Anything on football, I’m happy to answer.”
Belichick was then asked seven questions by reporters, all of which were about Brown. After the final question, Belichick said, “I’m good, OK, thank you,” and ended his press conference.
Here’s the full transcript of Belichick’s brief meeting with the media, after his opening statement.
Reporter: As far as your work with Antonio in football, do the off-field accusations and allegations complicate your ability to coach him, or feelings about him personally?
Belichick: Yeah, well, when we work on football, we work on football.
Reporter: Can you just talk a little bit about Antonio Brown’s role this weekend?
Belichick: Uh, no. I’m not going to get into that. We’re going to do what’s best for the team like we always do.
Reporter: You always say you want what’s best for the team, so how do you weigh with your players their performance on the field with their behavior off the field and what’s best for the team overall?
Belichick: Yeah, well, it’s a big picture question. We answer it the best we can. There’s no set formula.
Reporter: But how important is the behavior off the field?
Belichick: Everything’s important.
Reporter: Bill, do you expect to have Antonio available to you on Sunday?
Belichick: He’s on our roster.
Reporter: Bill, another headline today focusing on Antonio Brown. Does any of this at all affect his status with the team?
Belichick: Yeah I think I’ve already addressed this. So we’re going to get ready for the Jets here. Happy to answer any football questions. But the rest of it — I’m done with the rest of it.
Reporter: Bill, is there ever a point where some of the off-field stuff …
Belichick: OK. So. Yeah. That’s. I’m good. OK. Thank you.
Brown’s tenure with the Patriots began after a controversial and brief stint with the Oakland Raiders. After forcing his way off the Steelers following last season, Brown was traded to the Raiders. He missed time during the summer due to frostbite on his feet from apparently wearing wet socks in a cryotherapy chamber, and also due to Brown’s resistance to following the NFL’s mandate for him to wear a newer helmet model. Brown reportedly threatened Oakland GM Mike Mayock, and he was released on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Just hours later, news broke that the Patriots had signed Brown. Three days after that signing, a lawsuit was filed accusing Brown of sexual assault and rape. Brown nevertheless made his Patriots debut on Sunday, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in a win in Miami.
This week, Sports Illustrated released a story detailing several allegations — some new, some that had already been reported. Those allegations included a woman who claimed that Brown, nude except for holding a small towel, approached her while she was working in her house.
On Friday, SI reported that that same woman was included in a group chat by Brown, in which Brown requested that the woman be investigated while also insulting her and sharing a picture of her children.
As of Friday, Brown is expected to play for the Patriots on Sunday against the Jets. As expected, Brown was on the practice field for the Patriots roughly a half-hour after Belichick’s press conference concluded.
UPDATE: The Patriots released Antonio Brown from their roster on Friday afternoon.