It has been a wild week for the Patriots. A week that included signing star wide receiver Antonio Brown, only to find out days later he is being accused of three separate sexual assault charges including a rape charge.
While nothing has been set in stone, it seems that, at least for now, the Patriots are giving Brown the green light to play on Sunday. According to Ian Rappaport on NFL Network, he believes the Patriots plan to play Brown on Sunday unless the NFL steps in.
Even if Brown did not have any accusations against him, it would not have been surprising if the Patriots decided to hold him out. Josh Gordon and Kyle Van Noy among others were held out during the week after they signed in order to get adjusted to the Patriots playbook.
The NFL could still step in and put Brown on the exempt list, which would keep him off the field until the league has a ruling, but that would mean an investigation would have to be opened up by the NFL. The way it seems right now is that Brown will play week one if it is up to the Patriots.
Brown was spotted wearing no. 17 at practice, as his old no. 84 is taken by suspended tight end Ben Watson. NFL rules prohibit players from changing numbers during the season, so even if Watson wanted to give Brown the number, he could not.
The Patriots will travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins on Sunday, which just so happens to be Brown’s hometown. With or without Brown, the Patriots offense should not be too reliant on the star receiver as the Dolphins are coming off a 59-10 blowout loss against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.