Patriots

WATCH: Antonio Brown makes Patriots practice debut wearing No. 1

WATCH: Antonio Brown makes Patriots practice debut wearing No. 1

FOXBORO — As Bill Belichick told reporters on Wednesday morning, Antonio Brown was in fact at Patriots practice for the first time since signing as a free agent earlier this week. 

With his receiver gloves attached to his face mask, and wearing No. 1 on his jersey, Brown donned full pads as did the rest of the team.  His Patriots debut on the practice field came one day after his former trainer filed a civil lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault and rape.

According to NFL rules, receivers must wear numbers between 10-19 or 80-89 in games. Brown wore 84 for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders. That number has been worn in practice and preseason by Patriots tight end Ben Watson, who is serving a PED suspension for the first four regular-season games.  

In his first warmup period overseen by a new strength and conditioning staff, Brown did his own thing. 

Seeing players handle their warmup and stretching responsibilities differently from player to player — some jog while others walk, some linger on certain movements longer than others — is nothing out of the ordinary, necessarily. But Brown adhered to another routine, static stretching on the sideline while teammates stretched and walked out to midfield. He also performed a lower-body warmup that had him on the sideline on all-fours while his teammates performed a side-shuffle movement, bouncing from the sideline to midfield and back. 

Brown didn’t interact much if at all with teammates while media members were present for the stretching period. He took his spot near other receivers but kept to himself. It’s important to note, reporters only had access to the brief warmup/stretching period before the availability period ended.

Brown, who officially signed a one-year contract with New England on Monday after the Raiders released him Saturday, has denied his ex-trainer's allegations and reportedly plans to countersue her.

A federal judge in Florida was assigned to Brown's case Wednesday, and his accuser, Britney Taylor, reportedly is expected to meet with the NFL next week. It's unclear if and when Brown would face discipline from the NFL, but until then, it's apparently business as usual in New England ahead of Sunday's game against the Dolphins in Miami.

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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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