Antonio Brown isn’t in the clear for the 2021 season yet despite his recent lawsuit settlement.
Tampa Bay Times reporter Matt Baker confirmed that the star wide receiver’s civil lawsuit officially closed out on Monday. The NFL, however, isn’t done with investigating Brown.
“The matter remains under review,” an NFL spokesperson told Pro Football Talk according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
The NFL has a Personal Conduct Policy investigation open regarding the free agent wide receiver, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 according to Florio. The analyst speculated that the NFL may have left the investigation open to wait for the results of Brown’s civil case, but Brown also has a broader history of off-field misconduct than the civil lawsuit.
Brown served an eight-game suspension in 2020 before joining the Bucs, which came as a result of misconduct issues such as an altercation with a truck driver that he pleaded no contest to.
The latest Bucs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bucs newsletter here!
Brown’s Uncertain Future With Bucs
The Bucs haven’t re-signed Brown since his one-year contract expired as the two haven’t been close in contract talks, but general manager Jason Licht indicated this week that the door isn’t closed on Brown returning.
“Well, it’s always good when there is some resolution, but we signed him last year with the civil case looming,” Licht said. “So, all I can go off of is what we saw of Antonio on our team this year. He obviously was a good player, but he was a great teammate. So, to have this resolved, it certainly helps, but that is not necessarily the deciding factor in whether or not we’re going to continue to talk.”
Florio noted that the NFL won’t receive further information from Brown’s civil case with trainer Brittany Taylor since it closed upon the settlement. The league could “grill Brown again”, however, if he hasn’t been already, Florio wrote. Either way, Florio wrote the league’s investigation “quite possibly will” end sooner or later.
The NFL Draft next week could impact the market for Brown. Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times indicated that the draft could be a turning point for Brown whether it’s the Bucs re-signing him or another team making an offer.
Brown appeared headed for trial in December 2020 with Britney Taylor, a former trainer of his who filed a civil lawsuit against him in 2019 alleging rape and sexual assault between 2017 and 2018. Representatives for both parties announced the settlement on Wednesday per Florio.
“Antonio and Britney have been friends for over a decade. Several years ago they almost became business partners,” the statements read per Florio. “Recently, they were involved in aggressive litigation. Having reflected on their relationship, both feel the time has come to move on. Antonio is grateful for Britney’s excellent training assistance. They are pleased that Antonio is doing so well with the Bucs and has a ring. Their dispute is resolved and they wish each other great continued success.”
Brown may have hinted at this coming, or at least his free agency progressing, in an April 15 Instagram post where he wrote, “there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel” with a picture of him looking up. He’s been dropping messages on Instagram throughout the offseason regarding his future from commenting on the Bucs’ Instagram to a workout video on the platform with a Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown, his cousin, and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.