BOSTON -- Star wide receiver Antonio Brown’s career with the New England Patriots ended Friday, 11 days and 1 game after he joined the team.
Brown was released outright as publicity increased over rape accusations by a former woman trainer and sexual misconduct by a woman artist who had been hired to paint a mural in his home.
Brown, an NFL All-Pro receiver, had been traded by the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raisers for disciplinary issues earlier this year. Oakland then dismissed him for similar reasons one day before the Patriots signed him.
He played one game for the Patriots, last Sunday’s 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins, catching four passes and a touchdown.
“The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown,” the Patriots said in a statement. “We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”
A civil suit accusing Brown of forcible rape and sexual assault was filed three days after Brown joined the Patriots on Sept. 10. The accuser, Britney Taylor, met with NFL investigators for more than 10 hours on Monday.
Another woman came forward this week in an interview with Sports Illustrated accusing Brown of sexual harassment. An artist Brown hired, she accused him on Thursday of sending her threatening texts since she went public. Sports commentators said this was the conduct that likely led the Patriots to dismiss him.
Brown announced his release on Twitter minutes before the team did.
“Thanks for the opportunity,” he tweeted.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick mentioned Brown briefly at his Friday morning press conference, then walked out when reporters asked repeated questions about the receiver.
“I know there are questions about Antonio,” said Belichick. “There are some things we’re looking into. I’m not going to comment on any of the off-the-field situations.”
Within a few hours, the team announced Brown had been released.