But on Friday, reports emerged that Brown would not be suspended for Week 2 and is eligible to play in the Patriots’ game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Brown joined the Patriots last weekend shortly after being released by the Raiders for stirring up off-field drama. Just days after his arrival in New England, reports emerged accusing Brown of rape against his former trainer Britney Taylor.
The Patriots reportedly had no prior knowledge of this case when Brown joined the team and have prepared this week as if he would be available to suit up for their game against the Dolphins. Brown has been praised by teammates already for his skill set and talent put on display at practice.
He even began training at TB12 Sports Therapy Center as documented on his Instagram Thursday night.
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Homecoming for Antonio Brown
Brown’s eligibility for the Patriots contest at Miami means his New England debut will come in his hometown. Brown grew up in South Florida and played high school football for Miami Norland High School as a wide receiver, punt returner, and even quarterback.
He also ran track at Norland and captured a state title in the 4 x 100-meter relay. He had a chance to play in college near his home for Florida International University but was expelled almost immediately for an altercation with campus security.
Now, Brown will play for the Dolphins’ division rival back home, a special chance to make a lasting impact in his first game as a Patriot. However, Bill Belichick remains tight-lipped about whether he will, in fact, play against Miami, as NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero revealed.
What Is the Commissioner’s Exempt List?
The commissioner’s exempt list is a way to designate a player on paid leave. Should an off-field circumstance arise, the player is made exempt by the league, meaning he can still be paid but doesn’t count against a team’s 53-man roster.
In addition, the player can still attend meetings and work out at the team facility, but cannot practice or play in games.
Kareem Hunt was one of the most notable recent additions to the list, landing there last season after he was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Antonio Brown in, so Who’s Out?
With Antonio Brown looking likely to be active for the Patriots on Sunday, the team will have a decision to make over which receiver is inactive. Demaryius Thomas was inactive for the Patriots’ opener before eventually being traded to the New York Jets earlier this week.
Brown effectively took his roster spot but will most likely be activated for the game.
One option for an inactive receiver is Jakobi Meyers. The undrafted rookie out of NC State impressed in the preseason but did not see a lot of snaps in his regular-season debut last week against Pittsburgh. He caught just one pass for 22 yards in the season opener and played just 11 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and no plays on special teams.