Antonio Brown settles sexual assault lawsuit with former trainer

Rick Stroud
Tampa Bay Times

Tampa, Fla. — Antonio Brown may be rejoining the Buccaneers soon.

The free-agent receiver has settled a civil dispute with Britney Taylor, his former personal trainer who accused him of sexual assault and rape. David Haas, Taylor’s attorney, confirmed the settlement.

Antonio Brown helped the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl last season.

“Antonio and Britney have been friends for over a decade. Several years ago, they almost became business partners,” Haas said in a statement Wednesday. “Recently, they were involved in aggressive litigation. Having reflected on that relationship, both feel that the time has come to move on. Antonio is grateful for Britney’s excellent training assistance. They are pleased that Antonio is doing so well with the Bucs and has a (Super Bowl) ring. Their dispute is resolved and they wish each other great continued success.”

Taylor said Brown sexually assaulted her twice in 2017 and raped her the following year. Brown denied the allegations, saying in court filings that the encounters were consensual.

With Brown’s civil lawsuit behind him, look for the Bucs to move quickly to re-sign him. The former Central Michigan standout averaged 10.7 yards per catch during the regular season with Tampa Bay. He also caught eight passes in the playoffs, including a touchdown in the Bucs’ 31-9 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

Brown, 32, is one of the few remaining players from the Super Bowl run that the Bucs have yet to bring back onboard. Twenty-two starters return from their championship team, including notable free agents who already have re-signed such as linebacker Lavonte David, tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and kicker Ryan Succop. The Bucs also used the franchise player tag on receiver Chris Godwin.

But Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler, has been left twisting in the wind.

“We’ve had discussions throughout the offseason,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. “And as you can tell, we’ve put an emphasis on bringing back players, our players from last year that contributed to our success, and he would be no different. So we’ll continue to have talks and see where it goes.”

Brown initially joined Tampa Bay on a one-year, $1 million deal (with incentives) after serving an eight-game suspension at the start of the 2020 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The suspension stemmed from his arrest in January, when he was accused of attacking the driver of a moving van at his Hollywood, Fla., home. He pleaded no contest in June to a felony burglary with battery charge and two misdemeanor charges.

The Bucs were aware of the allegations by Taylor long before they signed Brown last season. They also knew due to the pandemic and a backlog of cases, nothing would be settled before the end of the 2020 season.

Licht said the civil suit and subsequent settlement have had no impact on their attempts to re-sign Brown, who could potentially draw interest from other teams now.

“Well, it’s always good to have some resolution,” Licht said. “But we signed him, like you said, last year with the civil case looming. All I can go off of and what we saw of Antonio on our team this year. He obviously was a good player but he was a great teammate. To have this resolved it certainly helps but that’s not necessarily the deciding factor of whether or not we’re going to continue to talk.”