The NFL is reportedly giving "serious consideration" to placing New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown on paid leave through the commissioner's exempt list, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post.
Per TMZ Sports, Brown's former trainer, Britney Taylor, filed a civil lawsuit against him amid allegations that Brown sexually assaulted her on three occasions. Brown has said his "personal relationship" with Taylor was consensual.
Maske added that NFL leaders are set to hold a meeting regarding Brown on Wednesday. Maske noted that the exempt list is "possible" and something the league "is going to have to focus on," but it isn't yet clear if a decision will be made on Brown's status prior to the Patriots' game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Wednesday that Taylor "is willing and planning to meet with the NFL next week, which is as soon as she can."
The Oakland Raiders released Brown on Saturday after he went public with his disdain for the organization fining him for an altercation with general manager mike Mayock and voided his contract's guaranteed money. Later that day, the Patriots agreed to a one-year deal with Brown worth as much as $15 million with a team option for 2020.
Brown was not eligible to play in New England's 33-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, but he can play against the Dolphins in Week 2, provided he isn't placed on the exempt list.
Maske pointed out that while Brown has not been charged with a crime, the NFL can still place him on the exempt list if an investigation determines the personal conduct policy has been violated in some way.
The 31-year-old Brown essentially forced his way out of Pittsburgh during the offseason, which resulted in a trade to Oakland. With Brown missing significant time in training camp with a foot injury and while fighting the league over the helmet he wanted to wear, his standing with the Raiders was on shaky ground even before the altercation with Mayock.
When Brown plays, he is one of the best receivers of his generation. In nine NFL seasons, Brown has been named to the Pro Bowl seven times and the All-Pro first team four times.
He has registered at least 100 receptions, 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns in six consecutive seasons and is coming off a 2018 campaign with the Steelers that saw him record 104 catches for 1,297 yards and an NFL-leading 15 touchdowns.
New England signing Brown was viewed as a case of the rich getting richer, especially after quarterback Tom Brady picked apart the Steelers in Week 1, throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns by utilizing wideouts Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett.
The Pats' performance in Week 1 seemed to show that Brown wasn't needed in order for them to be considered a Super Bowl favorite, and Maske's report suggests it is possible that the team may have to move forward without him.