Might be time to move past that idea. Despite injuries and a lack of experienced depth at the receiver position, the Patriots don’t appear interested in bringing back Antonio Brown at any point this season.
According to a report from Washington Post NFL reporter Mark Maske, the Patriots likely won’t consider resigning Brown this season due to the popular belief from many NFL organizations that the league would immediately place him on the exempt list once signed to a team.
Brown signed a two-year deal with the Patriots in September, just hours after being granted his requested release from the Oakland Raiders. Brown lasted just 13 days in New England before the Patriots released him as well after the receiver sent threatening text messages to one of his accusers.
The receiver has been in hot water as of late, dealing with several allegations of sexual misconduct, most notably by his former trainer, Britney Taylor. The NFL recently met with Brown in an eight-hour session as part of its ongoing investigation into his misconduct.
Brown issued an apology to Patriots ownership via social media on Tuesday, but Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick remained tight-lipped on whether they thought Brown would be welcomed back to New England.
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Injuries at Wide Receiver Are Piling Up for New England
The Patriots have been hit hard by the injury bug all season, and the receiver position hasn’t been an exception. Josh Gordon went down injured, as did N’Keal Harry, Demaryius Thomas, Phillip Dorsett, Julian Edelman, and most recently Gunner Olszewski.
With hardly any continuity at the position, someone like Brown was supposed to become a steady presence for Brady and the New England offense. But his off-field activities prevented that from being an option.
This week, newly-acquired Mohamed Sanu has yet to participate in practice due to an ankle injury suffered against Philadelphia last week. Though he played the remainder of that contest following the injury, he has not been healthy enough to hit the practice field ahead of New England’s Week 12 matchup against Dallas at home.
That injury could reportedly cost Sanu the next two games as he tries to quickly recover for the playoffs down the road. Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston is reporting that Sanu suffered a high-ankle sprain on a punt return — an injury that often lingers.
With fellow receivers Edelman and Dorsett also limited, dealing with a shoulder injury and a concussion respectively, the Patriots may be forced to use rookies Harry and Jakobi Meyers for a larger number of snaps on Sunday.
Should the injuries keep mounting, the Patriots may have no choice but to at least give Brown a second chance, pending the results of the NFL’s investigation into his current legal situation.