Antonio Brown may make his Patriots debut this weekend. If he doesn’t play, it won’t be because the NFL stopped him.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the NFL is not placing the wide receiver on the commissioner's exempt list because there isn’t a criminal investigation, thus making Brown eligible to play on Sunday against the Dolphins.
This does not mean the NFL is completely removing itself from the situation. The report also states the NFL will interview Brown and his accuser as part of the investigation the league has opened.
Brown practiced with the Patriots on Wednesday and Thursday after the team had signed him on Saturday shortly after his release from the Oakland Raiders.
On Tuesday, a civil lawsuit was filed in Florida accusing Brown of sexual assault and rape, raising concerns if the NFL would step in and place him on the commissioner's exempt list.
Regardless of the lawsuit and investigation, there was still doubt as to whether or not Brown would play for the Patriots on Sunday because of the short preparation time he had to adjust to the team.
Head coach Bill Belichick was asked if the plan was to play Brown on Sunday, but he kept things close to the chest, per usual.
"We'll do what's best for the team," he said. "...I'm not going to hand out a copy of the game plan here."