With the off-field controversy still dogging new Patriots wide receiver, Antonio Brown, there is a growing belief that Brown may not make his debut this week for New England in their match-up at Miami against the Dolphins.
First, the latest development is a sexual assault civil lawsuit has been filed in Southern District of Florida court on Tuesday. That lawsuit alleges that Brown inappropriately touched, committed a lewd sex act and then eventually, raped a 28 year old personal trainer in three separate incidences from 2017-18.
That revelation was something that the NFL, and probably the Patriots, as well, did not know about when Brown was signed Monday after he was released by the Oakland Raiders this weekend.
Brown was at Patriots practice on Wednesday wearing jersey number #1 during the portion of the practice that was open to the media.
Patriots practice setlist: "A Star Is Born" (Jay-Z, with J. Cole); "Numb/Encore" (Jay-Z & Linkin Park). pic.twitter.com/J0LgXRx7y4
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 11, 2019
It’s unclear on Wednesday as to whether the NFL will go ahead and put Brown on the “Commissioner’s Exempt List,” where he is being paid but not on the New England roster or allowed to play, while they investigate.
The league has done that in the past with situations, including current Redskins and former Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson, being put on it in 2014. That’s when the NFL and Texas authorities were investigating child abuse charges.
It is an important distinction that Brown has not been charged criminally, as of yet, in this situation.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick stonewalled the Miami media on Tuesday morning on their conference call, when they asked about Brown’s status for Sunday’s game. It should be noted that the conference call was prior to the information of the lawsuit being filed was made public later in the day.
Brown had a rocky relationship with the Steelers and specifically, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, at the end of his career in Pittsburgh. So, the team chose to trade him in the offseason to the Raiders for 3rd and 5th round selections in this past April’s draft.
Brown created his own personal soap opera in Oakland, when he refused to practice and participate in preseason games for the Raiders, because he wanted to wear an outdated helmet that’s no longer allowed by the NFL. The Raiders ended up formally fining Brown for having missed practices and team meetings, as a prelude to potentially suspending or releasing the former three time All-Pro without having to pay Brown any of his guaranteed money.
Brown then reportedly had an angry confrontation last Wednesday with Oakland GM Mike Mayock, where he was alleged to have threatened him physically before being restrained. At that point, Oakland decided to void the guarantees on his contract and then cut him on Saturday.
That’s when, the Patriots swooped in signing Brown on a one-year deal with a smaller guarantee, but the possibility with incentives to make up to $15 million this season.
New England blew out Brown’s former team, the Steelers Sunday night 33 – 3 and they are overwhelming 19 Point favorites as of Wednesday afternoon to defeat the Dolphins Sunday
However, Miami has won six of the last seven meetings at Hard Rock Stadium, including their thrilling double lateral “Miami Miracle” play that RB Kenyan Drake scored on, on the last play of the game last December.
Dolphins reverse course- will start Josh Rosen Sunday
In a move that fits the pattern of seemingly having no true plan of how to get better and, further being willing to change or get rid of personnel on any whim, coach Brian Flores and the Dolphins have done “a 180 turn,” and will now start second-year quarterback Josh Rosen in Dallas Sunday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 19, 2019
After being adamant for the last three days the team would continue to start veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, even after two dismal games where the Dolphins lost by a combined score of 102 – 10, Flores and the organization have obviously decided that now is the time to see what Rosen can do.
We at F.F.I. called for this move on Monday, as Miami’s offense could be truly no worse than what it has looked like in the losses to Baltimore and the Patriots at home.
And sooner or later you have to give Rosen an extended look to find out, if he has some promise to be a quarterback of the future or at least, part of the mix as a backup etc., for 2020 and 2021.
Clearly, Miami is doing everything they can to lose every possible game they can and get their best draft position in 2020.
To that end, the Dolphins traded 2018 first round pick defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday acquiring their number one pick. This added on to the blockbuster trade of left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills where the Dolphins acquired the Texans number one and number two picks this year and their first round pick next year.
The Dolphins stuck Rosen in Sunday’s disaster with New England with nine minutes to go and trailing 43-0 and he threw 18 passes, completing only seven and also had an INT while being sacked three times. Rosen even managed to roll his ankle, but kept playing, but only in worthless garbage time.
Rosen, who was acquired in an April draft night trade with Arizona, was 3-10 last year as a starter with only a 55% completion percentage and 11 touchdowns vs. 14 interceptions with the Cards.
Now, considerably handicapped on offense without Tunsil and Stills, etc., we will see what the former UCLA first round pick can do against the formidable Cowboys.
Dolphins trade Minkah Fitzpatrick to Steelers
The Dolphins remained true to their “lose at all costs” mentality for 2019, as they dealt last season’s #1 pick, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers on Monday night.
TRADE: Steelers are trading a 2020 first-round pick to the Dolphins for DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 17, 2019
As we wrote earlier Monday night, Fitzpatrick has been disgruntled in Miami just two horrible games into their season and was given permission to seek a trade last week. Apparently, Pittsburgh came up with the best offer, first, to get the former Alabama All American.
Fitzpatrick, who the Dolphins took with the 11th overall pick in the 2018 draft, is disgruntled in part, because of the Dolphins “veteran purge” that has gone all in all offseason, stripping them of experienced talent everywhere. He further has been unhappy with new head coach Brian Flores and defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, moving him to different positions all over the defensive secondary in the preseason and the first two games of the year.
Fitzpatrick started and played significantly in most of Fins Sunday blowout loss to the Patriots 43-0 that dropped them to a dismal looking 0-2. And Pro Football Focus gave him a decent grade for Sunday:
Minkah Fitzpatrick was the highest-graded #Dolphins player in Week 2
— PFF MIA Dolphins (@PFF_Dolphins) September 16, 2019
GM Chris Grier continues to stock pile draft picks for the “named players” on his roster. This included the huge deal trading of starting LT Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills on the eve of the season to the Houston Texans. Miami got the Texans next two #1 picks and their second rounder in 2021 in that deal.
The acquiring of the Steelers first rounder gives Miami three opening round picks now in next April’s draft.
Reportedly, the teams are also swapping fourth (Miami’s) and fifth round picks in 2020 and sixth (Pittsburgh’s) and seventh rounders in 2021, as part of the deal.
Grier had been busy getting rid of other veterans in the off season. This also included dealing players like QB Ryan Tannehill and DE Robert Quinn in March, veteran WR Danny Amendola being cut after just one season in Miami and Pro Bowl DE Cam Wake being allowed to walk away in free agency.
In addition to trading Tunsil and Stills, Grier dealt his most productive tackler the last three years, Kiko Alonso, to the Saints at the end of preseason, too.
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