The Patriots have released wide receiver Antonio Brown, the team announced in a statement Friday afternoon.
“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,” read the statement.
Brown, who was acquired by the Patriots on Sept. 9 after getting released from the Raiders, acknowledged the decision on social media, posting several messages expressing his gratitude and appreciation for the organization. Brown also shared a photo of himself with coach Bill Belichick as well as one with quarterback Tom Brady.
— AB (@AB84) September 20, 2019
Brown’s tenure in New England was brief, and marred by the rape and sexual assault allegations that were filed in a civil lawsuit the day after he officially signed with the team. Brown has denied the allegations via his legal team and agent Drew Rosenhaus, while the NFL launched an investigation into the accusations. There was no official ruling on Brown’s status from the league, despite some speculation he would be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.
Belichick was repeatedly asked about how the Patriots were handling Brown’s situation but provided little to no information beyond formally issued statements. In the period Brown was in Foxborough, Belichick abruptly ended two press conferences because of persistent questioning about the 31-year-old wideout.
Brown appeared in one game as a Patriot, Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins, in which he caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t speak to the media after the game. His only availability with reporters lasted a minute in the locker room Thursday, when he answered four questions and kept his remarks focused on how grateful he is for the opportunity.
With Brown’s departure, New England’s wide receiver depth chart features Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, and N’Keal Harry, who was placed on injured reserve and is eligible to return after Week 8.