Patriots

Threatening texts from Antonio Brown were the tipping point for Patriots

Threatening texts from Antonio Brown were the tipping point for Patriots

Eleven days, five practices, one game, four catches, 56 yards, one touchdown, two abbreviated Bill Belichick press conferences, one civil lawsuit describing two instances of sexual assault and a rape of one woman, one texted threat to a single mother of three that included photos of her children and one nebulous statement from “A PATRIOTS SPOKESPERSON”  and the Antonio Brown era is over.

The unattributed statement announcing Brown’s release says, “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.”  
  
Plenty of people in the fanbase and probably in the locker room will complain Brown is gone because of flimsy allegations, and a media witch hunt.

 Neither is the case. It was the text messages he sent Wednesday night.  
 
Threatening a woman who hadn’t made an attempt to recoup the money she alleges he owed her for working on a painting until he propositioned her while naked? A woman who only wanted to be left alone? Send a text that not only insults and threatens her but promises you’ll be having your henchmen climb into her life? And then include a picture of her children?
 
That, I’m told by a source, is why Antonio Brown is gone. The texts were a bridge too far for all the organization’s decision-makers. Because of that, I’m told, the decision was made that he had to go.
 
“Everybody got to the same place,” said a source.

 
Even if the Patriots had already paid the $5 million installment of his bonus they were due to pay by Monday, the team still would have released him based on those texts, the source said.

The Patriots were not aware of the allegations made by Britney Taylor that appeared in the civil suit filed just a day after Brown signed. Would they have signed Brown if they had known a civil suit that included those allegations was coming? Unlikely. But once he was under the team’s umbrella, releasing him without a criminal complaint was something the team couldn’t countenance.
 
But the texts that came to light Friday morning were something that occurred while Brown was a member of the team. There was no arguing they didn’t come from him. The decision to release Brown was unanimous.

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Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

The Patriots have downgraded safety Patrick Chung and running back Damien Harris from questionable to out for the game Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Chung has had heel and chest injuries but did play in the Pats' last game before their bye week, the Nov. 3 loss to the Ravens. Harris appeared on the injury report for the first time on Friday with a hamstring issue. The rookie third-round pick from Alabama has only been active for two games this season.

The loss of Chung could impact the Patriots most in their coverage of Eagles tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Taking on tight ends is something Chung has excelled at. 

ESPN Mike Reiss reports that Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse, out with a knee injury since Oct. 10, did travel with the team to Philly so he will likely be active for the game.

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Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

It was one of the most controversial calls in Patriots history...and it didn't come from an official.

It was Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 in the final minutes against the Indianapolis Colts. And it was 10 years ago today.

THE DECISION

It remains Belichick's most talked-about moves this side of Malcolm Butler. In a Week 10 matchup in Indianapolis, the 8-0 Colts faced the 6-2 Patriots in a high-scoring affair. Leading 34-28 but backed up at their own 28-yard-line and needing two yards for a first down, Belichick chose to go for it on fourth down and try and keep the ball out of quarterback Peyton Manning's hands.

THE PLAY

Tom Brady completed a pass to running back Kevin Faulk, who was driven backward by the Colts' Melvin Bullitt. After a measurement, Faulk was ruled short of the first down. Three Colts plays later, a Manning-to-Reggie Wayne TD pass and extra point with 13 seconds left a 35-34 victory.

THE AFTERMATH

There was plenty of second-guessing of Belichick's move. Had he outsmarted himself? Why didn't he punt and show more faith in his defense? 

“We thought we could win the game with that play,” he explained at the time. “That was a yard I was confident we could get.” Belichick had maintained it was more like fourth-and-long-1, rather than 2. Where the ball was spotted after the Faulk play is still the subject of debate.

Those Pats would go on to lose two of their next three, finish 10-6, still win the AFC East but get smoked by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14 in Foxboro in a wild-card playoff game. Manning's team won its first 14 games, then rested its regulars and lost twice before reaching its first Super Bowl as the Indy Colts and losing to the New Orleans Saints. 

TODAY

When Indianapolis reporter Kevin Bowen tweeted about the play's 10th anniversary on Saturday, it stirred up memories for former Colts linebacker Gary Brackens, who recalled the disrespect he felt from Belichick's decision to test the Indy defense. 

To this day, "Fourth-and-2" means only one thing to most NFL fans.

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