UPDATED 9/21/19, 8:58 p.m. ET: On Saturday, ESPN's senior NFL insider Adam Schefter reported Antonio Brown's agent already has had communication with other teams. Until the investigation is over, a deal is unlikely to happen.
UPDATED 9/20/19 , 9:41 p.m. ET: The NFL has released a statement on Antonio Brown's status in the league. The league says putting him on the Commissioner's exempt list is "not appropriate" because he's an unrestricted free agent.
"If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation," the statement reads. "Upon the conclusion of the investigation, he may also be subject to discipline if the investigation finds that he has violated the law or league policies."
UPDATED 9/20/19 , 6:55 p.m. ET: The second accuser's lawyers released a statement saying that Antonio Brown's release must mean the NFL is taking the latest sexual assault claims against him seriously.
See original story below.
"The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown," the team wrote in a statement. "We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time."
Brown thanked the team for the "opportunity." The 31-year-old signed a one-year contract that was worth up to $15 million with the Patriots earlier this month after being released by the Oakland Raiders.
Patriots’ statement: “The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2019
Thank you pic.twitter.com/CBXWTfajFy— AB (@AB84) September 20, 2019
Brown also posted an image of Nipsey Hussle along with a quote: "Sometimes people try to destroy you precisely because they recognize your power..."
The marathon continues— AB (@AB84) September 20, 2019
News of Brown's release comes on the heels of rape and sexual assault allegations being made against the wide receiver. Britney Taylor, Brown's former trainer, made the claims. Shortly after, a second woman came forward to allege that Brown had made an unwanted sexual advance. After the allegations surfaced, Nike parted ways with Brown. "Antonio Brown is not a Nike athlete," a spokesperson for the brand said.
Just hours before he was released by the Patriots, news that Brown allegedly sent threatening text messages to his second accuser surfaced. The alleged messages included a photo of the woman's children. "Our client ... is understandably frightened by these text messages, which are clearly intended to threaten and intimidate her," Lisa J. Banks, the attorney for the woman, wrote. The NFL is investigating the matter.
From the NFL’s standpoint, the Antonio Brown investigation will continue. A player has to be on a team to be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list. So that is no longer in play unless he signs.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 20, 2019
According to NBC Sports Boston, New England released the WR a few days before he was to be paid a large portion of his $9 million signing bonus.
The Patriots released Antonio Brown two days before he was set to be paid $5 million of his $9 million signing bonus. https://t.co/YPBH9AcmBD— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) September 20, 2019
The #Patriots gave Antonio Brown a $9M signing bonus on his 1-year deal — but it wasn’t all due at signing, and there’s usually forfeiture language. As one NFL exec told me: “I don’t think he has any money yet so at least they can hold it while they fight about it.”— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 20, 2019
Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus also addressed the news. "It's unfortunate things didn't work out with the Patriots. But Antonio is healthy and is looking forward to his next opportunity in the NFL," Rosenhaus wrote. "He wants to play the game he loves and he hopes to play for another team soon."
It's unfortunate things didn't work out with the Patriots. But Antonio is healthy and is looking forward to his next opportunity in the NFL. He wants to play the game he loves and he hopes to play for another team soon.— Drew Rosenhaus (@RosenhausSports) September 20, 2019
Amid the fallout, Brown took to Instagram to notify fans that he was giving away the football he made a touchdown with during his Week 2 game against the Dolphins.