After Antonio Brown, there was some question about whether or not the receiver would be attending practice in New England this week, and that question was answered on Wednesday when Brown took the field with his new team for the first time.against
Although Brown is facing multiple allegations of sexual assault stemming from the lawsuit, the Patriots‘ newest receiver is still eligible to practice and play in games. The Patriots announced on Tuesday that they were going to leave everything in the hands of the NFL.
“We are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio’s representative,” the Patriots said in a statement on Tuesday. “We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstances does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place.”
In the lawsuit, Brown is accused of sexually assaulting a female acquaintance, Britney Taylor, on three separate occasions. Although Brown’s legal team has admitted that the two had a sexual relationship, his camp maintains that everything was consensual between Brown and Taylor. Although the NFL could eventually place him, which would make him ineligible to play while he’s on it, the league hasn’t taken any action against the 31-year-old.
With Brown at practice, that means there’s definitely a chance that he could be making his Patriots debut on Sunday against the Dolphins.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Bill Belichick was actually asked if Brown would be playing in Miami, and he didn’t close the door on that possibility.
“We’re taking it one day at a time, just,” Belichick said when asked if Brown would play Sunday.
If Brown does play against the Dolphins, he definitely won’t be wearing the same number that he wore Wednesday. Although Brown normally wears No. 84, that number isn’t currently an option for him, so he had to settle for another number for his first practice in New England: One.
Unfortunately for Brown, he won’t be allowed to wear that number in a game. Under NFL rules, a wide receiver has 20 numbers to choose from: Players at that position can pick a number between 10 and 19 or 80 and 89.
The reason Brown can’t wear 84 just yet is because that number currently belongs to Ben Watson. The NFL generally doesn’t allow players to switch numbers once the season has started, so Brown might not be allowed to wear No. 84 at all this year (You can read).
With Brown now on the field, Patriots players will undoubtedly be getting a lot of questions about him going forward, and if Wednesday’s practice was any indication, they’re definitely ready for them. Like Belichick, Tom Brady shut down all Brown-related questions during his post-practice press conference.
If Brown does play on Sunday, the team will likely face even more questions from the media, and that’s because the Patriots game is in Miami, where two of three alleged sexual assaults took place.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has already announced that it will be looking into both Florida-based allegations.
“We will be reaching out to the pertinent police agencies to determine if they had any prior contacts or investigations,” the State Attorney’s Office said in a statement, via NBC Boston.
The Patriots and Dolphins will kickoff from Hard Rock Stadium at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.