Thursday's NFL: Patriots' Antonio Brown not distracted by sexual assault accusations

Detroit News wire services
Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown declined to talk about the civil case that was recently filed against him.

Foxborough, Mass. — Patriots receiver Antonio Brown declined to answer questions about allegations of sexual assault and rape against him and says he’s keeping his focus on football.

Brown, the former Central Michigan standout, answered only four questions at his locker on Thursday in an interview that lasted just over a minute. It was his first interview with reporters since agreeing to a deal with the Patriots on Sept. 7.

He twice declined to answer questions about the civil case filed against him in South Florida by former trainer Britney Taylor, who claims Brown sexually assaulted her on three occasions, including rape, in 2017 and 2018. He also declined to say whether he’s heard from the league about the allegations.

He has previously denied the allegations by Taylor.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, but Taylor was identified in the federal lawsuit and was quoted in a statement provided by her lawyer.

Sports Illustrated also reported this week that a second unidentified woman has alleged that Brown exposed himself to her while she was working on a mural for him at his Pittsburgh home in 2017. Brown has also denied that allegation.

Asked if he was currently in good standing with the league and available to play on Sunday when New England hosts the New York Jets, Brown responded that he was “super grateful to be here to play for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.”

“I got a lot of the offense to learn and catch up on,” he continued. “But I’m excited and grateful to be here and be a part of these guys.”

After responding that it was “a tremendous honor” to a question about working with Brady, Brown was asked what the process of acclimating to the Patriots has been like with everything going on in his life. Again, Brown deferred to football.

“It’s football,” he said. I’m grateful to play football. Every time you walk in the doors here you know (to) be your best for the team. So every time I walk in here, I just want to make sure I’m preparing to give these guys my best.”

Asked a final time if he’s heard anything from the NFL about his availability, Brown said, “I appreciate that question. I’m just here to focus on ball and look forward to get getting out there and playing and being with the team.”

Two people with knowledge of the investigation into Brown told The Associated Press that one of the accusers has met with NFL investigators and that there is no timetable for concluding the probe.

Brown practiced with the Patriots in the aftermath of Taylor’s lawsuit becoming public and scored a touchdown in his debut against the Dolphins. He’s also been on the field for both of the Patriots’ practices this week.

Two sources told The Associated Press that Brown was not placed on the commissioner’s exempt list last week and was eligible to play against Miami because no criminal charges had been filed against him and because the NFL hadn’t fully developed its investigation.

Players on the exempt list can’t play in games or practice with a team but are still paid. A player can be placed on the exempt list at any point. The one-year deal Brown signed earlier this month with the Patriots could be worth as much as $15 million.

Jaguars thump Titans

(At) Jacksonville 20, Tennessee 7: Gardner Minshew threw two touchdown passes and should have had a third, Calais Campbell spearheaded another defensive gem and the Jaguars beat the Titans in sloppy conditions.

Jacksonville (1-2) ended a four-game losing streak in the AFC South series and avoided the franchise’s second 0-3 start in four years.

With all eyes on star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who may have played his final game for Jacksonville, Minshew and a second straight stellar defensive outing captured the spotlight.

A sixth-round draft pick starting his second consecutive game in place of injured Nick Foles (broken collarbone), Minshew completed 20 of 30 passes for 204 yards. He found James O’Shaughnessy wide open for a 7-yard score and was more precise with a 22-yard touchdown pass to DJ Chark, who was blanketed by Malcolm Butler.

Jacksonville sacked Marcus Mariota nine times, including three by Campbell.

The Titans (1-2) got on the scoreboard with Derrick Henry’s 1-yard plunge early in the fourth. Henry finished with 44 yards on 17 carries, a far cry from his last game against Jacksonville. Henry ran for a franchise-record 238 yards and four touchdowns, including the second 99-yard run in NFL history (Tony Dorsett, 1983), in December.

Adams appeals fine

Jets safety Jamal Adams is appealing his fine from the league for a roughing the passer call against Cleveland last Monday, and said officials later acknowledged they made a mistake.

“What’s funny is that after the game, those guys came to the coaching staff and apologized for that call,” Adams said. “But at the same time, those guys have a tough situation, in tough situations like that, as far as calling certain calls. It’s very tough for me to get mad at them because they have a tough job at hand, too.”

The NFL doesn’t dole out fines or discipline players unless a play in question is deemed to be against the rules. Despite Adams’ claim the officials apologized, the league ultimately ruled the correct call was made to penalize him for the play.

Adams ranted on Twitter late Wednesday night, calling the NFL a joke for fining him $21,056 for his hit on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in the first quarter of New York’s 23-3 loss Monday night. He shoved Mayfield with his left forearm just after the Cleveland star threw a pass.

Extra points

Josh Rosen will replace Ryan Fitzpatrick this week as Miami's starting quarterback and try to jump-start a team that has been outscored 102-10 in the first two games.

... The Dolphins claimed former Cowboys first-round-pick Taco Charlton (Michigan) off the waiver wire, adding a pass rusher who could eventually start on Miami’s talent-starved defensive line.

... Tight end David Njoku (wrist), linebacker Christian Kirksey (chest), right tackle Chris Hubbard (foot) and safeties Damarious Randall (concussion) and Morgan Burnett (leg) missed practice for the Browns.

... Panthers coach Ron Rivera isn’t ready to name Kyle Allen his starting quarterback for Carolina’s game at Arizona after Cam Newton (foot) missed his third straight day of practice.

... The Raiders acquired wide receiver and returner Trevor Davis in a trade with Green Bay for an undisclosed 2020 draft pick.

... Two suspects are being penalized after they allegedly stole a life-sized cutout of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, then crashed their getaway car.