Patriots

Report: Antonio Brown wants off-field issues resolved so he can return to the NFL

Report: Antonio Brown wants off-field issues resolved so he can return to the NFL

Days after suggesting a return to the Patriots on social media, volatile wide receiver Antonio Brown wants to get he off-field issues resolved so he can return to the NFL, according to an ESPN report.

Brown is accused of rape and sexual assault in a lawsuit filed by a former trainer. He's also accused of sexual misconduct by an artist who worked in his home in 2017. Brown sent threatening texts to that woman shortly after signing with the Patriots, which led to his release from the team Sept. 20 after an 11-day stint that included one game.

Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said after the day after his release from New England that there were a few teams interested in signing the receiver.

The NFL is investigating Brown for violating its personal conduct policy, but the 31-year-old wide receiver has yet to speak to league investigators, according to the ESPN report.

After Brown signs with a team, he could be placed on the commissioner's exempt list, which would keep him from playing. The league warned teams at the time of his release in a statement that read in part, "...If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation."

As of now, he's a free agent, but a return to New England seems unlikely in light of his release last month, and a grievance the NFL Players Association has filed on his behalf seeking a $9 million signing bonus from the Patriots that went unpaid. 

That's just one of eight grievances filed for Brown against the Patriots, and Oakland Raiders, where he began the summer after leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent. They seek more than $39.775 million in lost salary, bonuses and guaranteed money, according to ESPN.

Despite all that, Brown told his followers in an Instagram story posted Wednesday: "You guys follow the Patriots tell them to call me. They still gotta pay me, might as well let me earn it."

And beyond his off-field trouble and status with the league allowing a return to the field, there's also the matter of Brown's Twitter reference last month to Patriots owner Robert Kraft's prostitution arrest in Florida that makes a reunion with the Pats doubtful.

 

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How Bill Belichick, Patriots guarded against another 'Miami Miracle' vs. Eagles

How Bill Belichick, Patriots guarded against another 'Miami Miracle' vs. Eagles

As Matt Cassel wrote in a recent column for NBC Sports Boston, Bill Belichick "doesn't forget anything" -- especially plays that hurt his team.

Case in point: The Patriots head coach joined Scott Zolak for a film breakdown of New England's 17-10 win over the Eagles, and one of the plays they discussed was Philadelphia's Hail Mary attempt on the final play of the game.

And what was the first thing Belichick brought up while dissecting that play? The "Miami Miracle," of course.

"We had the play last year against Miami where they caught it and pitched it and all that," Belichick told Zolak in the video below. "So, that's a possibility here. Another possibility is they try to throw the ball 60 yards down to the end zone. So, we've really got to be ready to defend both plays."

(Skip to the 6:55 mark of the video for this segment.)

On that heart-breaking final play against the Dolphins, the Patriots allowed Miami to complete an easy short pass and lateral its way down the field for a stunning game-winning touchdown.

But Belichick learned his lesson from that game.

With the ball on Philly's 42-yard line, the Patriots had safety Terrence Brooks step up and defend against that short pass while the rest of the secondary dropped back in prevent defense.

The Eagles sent all of their pass-catchers toward the end zone for a more traditional Hail Mary, but Belichick had both of his bases covered, with help from Brooks.

As Wentz stepped up in the pocket, Brooks applied pressure on the Eagles QB, preventing him from getting maximum power on his throw.

"He ends up throwing and falling backward," Belichick said of Wentz. "He just can't get the ball to the end zone. That's a big key for us here. Brooks did a great job on this of staying in front of Wentz, not letting him step up in the pocket, no roughing the passer, and the ball only travels to the 5-yard line."

The result was an incomplete pass that sealed Belichick's 394th win as an NFL head coach. You don't have that much success without paying attention to every detail -- and remembering what caused every loss.

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE TO TOM E. CURRAN'S PATRIOTS TALK PODCAST:

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Say it ain't so: Rob Gronkowski, in Lakers gear, dances in halftime show in L.A.

Say it ain't so: Rob Gronkowski, in Lakers gear, dances in halftime show in L.A.

Could Rob Gronkowski rub it in a little more?

In the morning, Gronk's "big announcement" was that he'll be going to the Super Bowl - not with the Patriots, but as the host of "Gronk Beach" in Miami, the site of SB54. Thus ends the comeback, at least for this season.

He later joked that Pats were just "missing some 6-6, 260 [pound] guy...They're missing that guy for sure."

To top it all off, at night, Gronk donned Lakers purple and gold and was part of a halftime dance show with the Laker Girls at the Staples Center in Los Angeles where New England's least favorite NBA team was taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Gronk showed off his moves with talk show host James Corden and tennis great Venus Williams.

Enjoy your retirement, big guy. Think he'll stick around and rock some Celtics green Wednesday night at Staples when the C's face the Clippers? 

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