The New England Patriots reportedly were surprised by the lawsuit filed in Florida on Tuesday accusing newly signed wide receiver Antonio Brown of rape and sexual assault. The lawsuit was filed by Brown's former trainer, Britney Taylor. Brown, through his lawyer, has denied the allegations. He also reportedly plans to countersue Taylor.
Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, went on ESPN's "SportsCenter" on Wednesday and was asked if the Patriots were aware of the allegations made against Brown before they signed him to a contract earlier this week.
Here's the exchange between ESPN's Cari Champion and Rosenhaus.
Champion: "Do you know if the Patriots knew about these allegations ahead of time in signing (Brown)?"
Rosenhaus: "I'm not going to get into that element. I'm not going to get into my discussions with the Patriots, or what may or may not have been discussed."
Rosenhaus said earlier in the interview that he and Brown knew this lawsuit could be coming.
"The moment I learned about the lawsuit -- Antonio and I have been unfortunately anticipating this possibility," Rosenhaus explained. "What I want to emphasize is that Antonio takes these allegations very seriously. ... I wouldn't be doing this interview if I didn't believe Antonio. These allegations are false. He denies everyone of them. I'm very confident that his legal team has facts that will prove this."
Did Rosenhaus not tell the Patriots this lawsuit was a possibility? And would the Patriots have signed him if they were aware this lawsuit could be coming? The Patriots have not commented on that matters at this time. The team did release a statement late Tuesday night, and in that revealed the NFL was conducting an investigation.
The team's media availability Wednesday began with head coach Bill Belichick's press conference just before noon, and as expected, he was in no mood to discuss anything further related to Brown. Belichick said he expects Brown to practice Wednesday, which would be his first session with the team.
It's unclear if Brown will play Sunday when the Patriots take on the Miami Dolphins in a Week 2 matchup on the road. The NFL reportedly will "give serious consideration" to putting Brown on paid leave. That move would land him on the commissioner's exempt list.
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