Patriots

Just what is the NFL commissioner's exempt list?

Just what is the NFL commissioner's exempt list?

FOXBORO -- There is a way for the NFL to take any decision regarding Antonio Brown's availability out of Bill Belichick's hands. The league could place Antonio Brown on the commissioner's exempt list, which is, in effect, paid leave. 

While on the commissioner's exempt list, a player is paid as if he were on the active roster, yet he does not count against his team's 53-man active roster limit. A player on the exempt list is not allowed to practice or attend games, but he is allowed to be present at the facility for meetings, to work out, and to receive treatment. 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would be the one to determine whether or not Brown should be placed on the exempt list after being accused of sexual assault in a civil suit filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Washington Post reported that league leaders planned to meet on Wednesday to discuss Brown's situation and if placing him on the exempt list would be appropriate.

The Patriots would have no authority to place Brown on the exempt list, according to the NFL Player Personnel Policy Manual. 

"The Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances," NFL.com points out, citing the league's manual. "The List includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit. Only the Commissioner has the authority to place a player on the Exempt List; clubs have no such authority, and no exemption, regardless of circumstances, is automatic. 

"The Commissioner also has the authority to determine in advance whether a player's time on the Exempt List will be finite or will continue until the Commissioner deems the exemption should be lifted and the player returned to the Active List."

The league could opt to suspend Brown under the league's personal conduct policy, which does not require a criminal charge or conviction. (Brown has not been formally charged with or convicted of a crime.) But the league, especially recently, has generally opted to wait for legal proceedings to play out before suspending a player under the personal conduct policy.

Michael Vick (2009), Jonathan Vilma (2012), Adrian Peterson (2014), Greg Hardy (2014), Josh Brown (2016), Reuben Foster (2018) and Kareem Hunt (2018) have all landed on the commissioner's exempt list in recent years.

The NFL will conduct an investigation regarding the allegations against Brown, the Patriots announced in a statement late Tuesday night. The Post reported Wednesday that it is unclear whether or not the league would have a decision on whether or not Brown would be placed on the exempt list by the time the Patriots and Dolphins play their Week 2 game in Miami on Sunday afternoon. 

Brown is expected to practice with the Patriots for the first time Wednesday.

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NFL Rumors: Could Patriots videotaping investigation punishment come soon?

NFL Rumors: Could Patriots videotaping investigation punishment come soon?

Stop us if you've heard this before: An investigation into a Boston-area sports team has dragged on longer than expected.

The NFL launched its investigation into the Patriots back in December after the Bengals caught a New England staffer videotaping their sideline from Cincinnati's press box during a Week 14 game.

The Patriots issued a statement addressing the incident and footage of their film went public, but the league still hasn't concluded its investigation more than two months later.

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A verdict could be coming soon, however, as The Boston Globe's Ben Volin reports the NFL is "getting closer to wrapping up" its investigation.

From Volin:

Last week, NFL Security completed what was believed to be the final interview with a Patriots employee. Now the security officials must write up their report, then hand it up the chain of command, where it will eventually land on the desk of commissioner Roger Goodell, who will approve of a final course of action.

There's still no precise timetable for that course of action, per Volin.

Head coach Bill Belichick has maintained that his football staff had no connection whatsoever to the illegal videotaping, but New England still could face punishment in the form of a fine and/or loss of a mid-round draft pick.

Will that punishment come before Major League Baseball concludes its never-ending investigation into the 2018 Boston Red Sox? That's anyone's guess.

Patriots' Bill Belichick went to Middle Tennessee State to scout this draft prospect

Patriots' Bill Belichick went to Middle Tennessee State to scout this draft prospect

Bill Belichick's "No Days Off" mentality was on full display Monday as he was seen at Middle Tennessee State's campus to scout defensive end Tyshun Render.

Belichick stood amid plenty of rain to watch Render work out. Check out the scene in the photos below.

Render was not among the draft prospects invited to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, so it makes sense that Belichick would stop in Murfreesboro, Tenn., before heading to Indianapolis.

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The senior defensive end set career highs with 36 solo tackles, 3.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one interception and five passes defensed in 12 games for Middle Tennessee in 2019. He is listed at 6-foot-4 and 256 pounds. The Patriots had one of the league's best defenses last season, but you can never have enough quality pass rushers, and Render had a solid 2019 campaign.

Render is projected as a Day 3 prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft, so if he's selected, it likely will happen in the fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh round. The Patriots are expected to have as many as 12 picks (including compensatory selections) in April's draft, including eight on Day 3.

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