Antonio Brown's debut with the New England Patriots may be placed on hold.
The NFL "will give serious consideration" to placing Brown on paid leave by putting him on the commissioner's exempt list, the Washington Post's Mark Maske reported Wednesday morning.
The Patriots wide receiver was accused of rape and sexual assault Tuesday night in a civil lawsuit filed by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, in Florida. Brown has the denied the allegations via his lawyer and reportedly plans to countersue Taylor.
The Patriots said in a statement Tuesday they're aware of the lawsuit and the league's plans to investigate, and it sounds like Brown's discipline may be out of their hands.
In an appearance Tuesday night on NBC Sports Boston's "Boston Sports Tonight," Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer suggested the commissioner's exempt list could be a possibility for Brown based on how the league has handled similar cases.
— Patriots on NBCSB (@NBCSPatriots) September 11, 2019
"I think the first step is determining how credible the allegations are," Breer said. "And if they are credible, it would seem to me that this is what the commissioner's exempt list is for.
"If you want to go back to 2014 when Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy happened, it was sort of used as a tool to take any decision out of the team's hands and allow the league to investigate and the law enforcement process to take place."
Rice (arrested and charged with aggravated assault), Peterson (charged with reckless or negligent injury to a child) and Hardy (arrested for assault and communicating threats) all were placed on the commissioner's exempt list as the NFL investigated their cases.
A player placed on the commissioner's exempt list cannot practice or attend games but can attend meetings and be at the team's facility if the team allows.
It's unclear whether the NFL will make a decision on Brown prior to the Patriots' game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
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