FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots will have the option to play Antonio Brown this Sunday when they take on the Miami Dolphins. The question now is whether, Bill Belichick will play the All-Pro receiver.
According to ESPN, the NFL will not place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list. That would’ve made him ineligible to play this weekend. The league has opened up an investigation into Brown and plans on meeting with his former trainer Britney Taylor, who is accusing him of sexually assaulting her in 2017 and 2018 in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. ESPN reported that Taylor will meet with the NFL next week.
The receiver signed with the Pats last weekend and participated in all three practices this week.
“We’ll do what’s best for the team,” Belichick said when asked if Brown will play. When asked if it’s best for the team for the wide out to play, the coach replied, “We’ll determine that. We’re not going to hand out a copy of the game plan. We’ll do what’s best for the team.”
In the event Brown does play, it’ll be interesting to see how many offensive snaps the receiver plays. With only three practices under his belt, he certainly won’t have the full knowledge of the Patriots playbook. However, the 31-year-old is so talented that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team develop a handful of plays for him.
For example, Josh Gordon played 18 snaps in his Patriots debut last season. The receiver caught one pass for 13 yards. This also happened after the receiver was inactive the week before with the Patriots so he had an extra week to prepare. Gordon also played 18 snaps the following week, but by his third game, he was a mainstay in the Patriots offense.
On Friday, Gordon said acclimating to the Patriots offense was difficult.
“It can be tough. It can definitely be tough. I know it was for me,” Gordon said. “Everybody else will get it differently — sometimes faster, sometimes slower ... I think as a professional a lot of guys know this is a part of the game and can embrace it and adjust quickly. That’s how you adapt to survive in this league.”
“I mean, a long way to go,” Belichick added about Brown. “Obviously, he’s not familiar with our offense. The systems that he’s been in have been quite different. Jon (Gruden) does the West Coast offense, which there’s very little carryover from their system to our system. Not bad or good — just we’ve had players before. It’s just not all going to carry over, and a similar thing in Pittsburgh. You know, he’s working hard to pick it up, and we’re working hard to get it to him.”
On the field, Brown continues to impress his teammates. They say he still looks like a seven-time Pro Bowl receiver.
“I think he’s doing well. The dude is an absolute stud,” Julian Edelman said. “He’s a really good football player. I think he raises the level for everyone out there because of how good of a player he is and how hard he works.”
“I think it’s well known — dedicated player. One of the hardest working guys in the league,” Gordon added. “He’s come in here every day doing the same thing. I mean, he’s lived up the great Antonio Brown. He’s one of the best in the league. We expect that from him to continue. I think he expects it of himself. It’s a great addition. We’re glad to have him.”
Brown is also trying to follow in the footsteps of Tom Brady. On Thursday night, the receiver posted a live video on Instagram of him working out at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center in Patriot Place. The video was roughly 2:30. It started with Brown working with an unidentified trainer. The receiver spoke to the camera on two separate occasions.
“No matter what they say, no matter what they hate, somebody’s still gotta work,” Brown said.
When asked if he had any comments about Brown’s live stream, Belichick said, “I’m only here to talk about the game.”
We’ll see if he has anything to say about Brown after Sunday’s matchup.