Barring a significant turn of events, Antonio Brown is not expected to play again this season, league sources told ESPN.
Brown is continuing to push for his return to the NFL, and he is scheduled to meet with the league Thursday to address the sexual assault allegations he faces, but obstacles await the free-agent wide receiver at every step.
If Brown were to get an offer from any of the three teams that have been in contact with him, the NFL would be prepared to place him on the commissioner’s exempt list, according to sources.
If Brown is placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, the team that signed him would have to pay him until the league’s investigation is resolved, which might not happen before the season ends.
Additionally, Brown has not turned over all of the evidence the NFL has requested to gain a broader understanding of his case, according to a source.
There are teams around the league that believe that after the NFL completes its investigation, additional discipline could await Brown, further affecting his chances of playing again this season. That potential discipline could stretch well into next season.
Brown tweeted Thursday that he is “determined” to return to the NFL as soon as possible, backtracking from an earlier tweet in which he said he would “never” play in the NFL again.
Brown, 31, is being investigated by the NFL under its personal conduct policy following a lawsuit filed by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, that alleges she was sexually assaulted by Brown on multiple occasions. Brown also was accused of sexual misconduct at his home by an artist who was working there in 2017.
Brown has officially been served lawsuit papers from Taylor, sources told ESPN, and has hired attorney Camille Blanton to handle his case.
Brown has played in only one game this season — Week 2 against the Dolphins. He was released by the Raiders before the season and by the Patriots before Week 3, after it was made known that he sent text messages to the artist accusing him of misconduct.
Brown has filed eight grievances against the Raiders and Patriots, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. He is seeking $39.775 million in lost salary, bonuses and guaranteed money.