FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown practiced with the New England Patriots for the first time on Wednesday as he faces rape allegations from a former trainer.
In a civil lawsuit filed on Tuesday, a woman who previously went to college with Brown at Central Michigan claims he sexually assaulted her twice in 2017 and once in 2018.
Brown denies the allegations but is taking them very seriously, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Speaking to ESPN on Wednesday, Rosenhaus called the lawsuit a “money grab,” saying the claims are false and his legal team has the facts to prove that.
“They are not true. Absolutely not true,” Rosenhaus said, adding that he believes Brown will be cleared.
Since it’s a civil matter, Brown is not facing any criminal charges at this time. Rosenhaus said he’s advising his client to let the truth come out by cooperating with the Patriots, the NFL, and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
The allegations came to light the day after Brown signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Patriots. Head coach Bill Belichick held a brief news conference on Wednesday but didn’t offer much on Brown other than that he expected him to attend practice.
As reporters pressed Belichick for more information, he said Brown and his representatives have released statements and he wouldn’t expand further than what’s already been said.
“We’ve looked into the situation,” Belichick said. “We’re taking it very seriously all the way through the organization.”
“When we know more, we’ll say more,” he later added.
When it became clear that reporters didn’t want to discuss the team’s preparations for next Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, Belichick abruptly ended the news conference.
Neither Belichick nor Rosenhaus would comment on whether the team knew about the allegations prior to signing Brown. But he did tell ESPN he and Brown “had been unfortunately anticipating this possibility.”
Taking the podium Wednesday afternoon, Patriots QB Tom Brady had no comment on the Brown allegations and said he’s staying focused on getting ready for the Dolphins.
“Things that don’t involve me don’t involve me,” he said.
League officials, in the meantime, are expected to meet on Wednesday as they try to determine a course of action. The Washington Post reports the league may place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list, meaning he’d be paid but unable to play in games or participate in team activities.