Antonio Brown Will Make Patriots Debut Against Dolphins

Antonio Brown

Getty Antonio Brown

The biggest question surrounding the New England Patriots this week, and one Bill Belichick would not address, has finally been answered.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning that wide receiver Antonio Brown will suit up for his Patriots’ debut against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon.

Brown was signed as a free agent eight days ago after being released by the Oakland Raiders. He was a full participant in practice and spent extra time at the Patriots’ facility learning the playbook, working out, and catching passes from backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

Shrouding his on-field ability over the week, however, has been a rape lawsuit filed against Brown by his former trainer Britney Taylor. The NFL is expediting its investigation into the Brown lawsuit and will be meeting with his accuser tomorrow.

But for the time being, Brown will get a chance to prove he is still among the NFL’s elite wide receivers playing with the league’s greatest quarterback, Tom Brady. He has already been working at TB12 Sports Therapy Centers, as documented on his Instagram live, and there were rumors he would be staying with Brady while he settles into a new routine and life in New England.

Just Like Josh

Last season, fellow Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon made his debut for the team in a Week 4 contest against the Miami Dolphins. Gordon caught two passes for 32 yards with a long of 19. He appeared in limited snaps as he was still adjusting to the Patriots’ offense while working his way back from a minor leg ailment.

Like Gordon, Brown’s arrival in New England came abruptly and surrounded by controversy. Though Gordon has had his past off-field issues, he appears to have found comfort in the New England locker room. He routinely refers to the team’s environment as family-oriented and has been given endless support in his endeavors to overcome substance abuse.

The same is expected for Antonio Brown, who has caused his fair share of drama off the field. Now, with Brady taking him under his wing, it could be a new chapter for Brown’s career and one that puts him over the top.

Brady has worked with some other controversial receivers in the past, including Randy Moss and Chad Ochocinco. But in their times with the Patriots, they were successful in limiting their drama and Moss set an NFL record for touchdowns in a season.

Who’s Out?

With Brown set to suit up, it will likely require the Patriots to make one of their other receivers inactive.

The most likely option is rookie Jakobi Meyers. Catching just one pass in limited action against the Steelers last week, Meyers is behind several other Patriots’ receivers on the depth chart.

After Phillip Dorsett shined last weekend, his spot in the lineup is safe. As is another rookie, Gunner Olszewski, who has found a niche returning punts since signing in New England. He is also extremely versatile, as he showed in preseason, and can play defensive back and slot receiver if needed.