Antonio Brown has been released by the New England Patriots. The wide receiver made the announcement by posting a "thank you" message to his former team on Twitter.
Brown was cut by the Patriots after a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him. Shortly after Brown joined the Patriots on September 7, he was hit with a lawsuit from former personal trainer Britney Taylor who claimed that Brown had raped her and sexually assaulted her on another occasion. This week, another allegation emerged from an unnamed woman who claimed that she was painting a mural in Brown's home that he had commissioned when the wide receiver walked up behind her naked, covered only by a small hand towel. The woman said she rejected his advances, and Brown severed the relationship soon after, before the mural was completed.
A few days after the artist's account was published, her lawyer claimed that the woman received a group text message originating from a number she had been given by Brown that she characterized as intimidating. The text messages asked associates to investigate the woman, and included pictures of her children that had been posted on Instagram.
The Patriots also announced the roster move in a short statement released Friday afternoon, which did not make reference to the allegations against the All-Pro wide receiver.
"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," the team said in a statement, via ESPN.
Though the New England Patriots remained quiet regarding the allegations, there were growing signs of discontentment within the organization. On Friday, head coach Bill Belichick stormed out of a press conference when reporters asked about Brown. Belichick spoke for close to three minutes, declining to answer questions about Brown and the new allegations that had surfaced.
As CBS News noted, Belichick was more curt than usual with reporters, and after the seventh question about Brown's place on the team, Belichick walked away from the podium without answering any more questions.Antonio Brown has now been on three different team in the span of the last nine months, leaving all of them under controversial circumstances. Brown did not play in the season finale for the Pittsburgh Steelers after missing the team's final practice and being benched. He demanded a trade from the Steelers and in the offseason was shipped to the Oakland Raiders, but never made it to the regular season.
Brown's short tenure with the Raiders was marked by off-the-field drama as Brown got into a heated confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock and ultimately asked for his release on Instagram. The Raiders granted his request, and Brown signed with the Patriots hours later.
Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, released a statement on Friday saying that Brown still hopes to play in the NFL
"It's unfortunate things didn't work out with the Patriots. But Antonio is healthy and is looking forward to his next opportunity in the NFL. He wants to play the game he loves and he hopes to play for another team soon," Rosenhaus said.
It is not clear what could be next for Antonio Brown after being cut by the New England Patriots, but the wide receiver could face potential discipline for the NFL if he does join a new team. The league is investigating the sexual misconduct allegations against Brown, including the most recent incident where he sent the text messages to his second accuser.