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Antonio Brown set for New England Patriots debut despite rape lawsuit

Antonio Brown is eligible to play Sunday when the New England Patriots visit the Miami Dolphins.

Brown, the subject of a civil suit by his former trainer alleging rape and sexual assault, was under consideration for the Commissioner’s Exempt List, according to USA Today. But commissioner Roger Goodell will not enact his authority in the matter at this time.

USA Today reported Goodell is reserving the right to place Brown on the exempt list should criminal charges be brought against Brown.

Whether Brown will be active and on the field for the Patriots at Miami after three days of practice is up to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Multiple reports indicate the Patriots were not aware of the civil suit Saturday when they agreed to a one-year deal with Brown hours after he was released by the Oakland Raiders.

Brown, 31, inked a reported one-year, $15m deal that includes a $9m signing bonus and a $20m team option for 2020.

After bailing on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2018 regular-season finale and sitting out Week 1 this year, Brown could pay for the first time since 23 December if he faces the Dolphins.

Belichick downplayed Brown’s past, responding to a question about Brown being a disruption with a name from the past that worked out pretty well.

“That’s the same thing you (the media) said about Randy Moss when we brought him in,” Belichick said Tuesday.

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