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USA TODAY

The New England Patriots have released Antonio Brown less than two weeks after signing the star wide receiver, the team announced Friday.

Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, was accused of sexual assault by a former trainer in a civil suit last week.

A pair of Sports Illustrated reports this week — one noting other sexual misconduct allegations and another detailing how Brown allegedly “threatened” one accuser in a group text. 

“The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown,” the team said in a statement. “We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”

Brown reacted to his release on Twitter, thanking the Patriots for the opportunity. 

Brown was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in the offseason. The Raiders released him after a tumultuous training camp, and Brown quickly agreed to a deal with the Patriots. 

The NFL started an investigation of Brown after the sexual assault allegations last week. The considered putting him on the commissioner’s exempt list, but he has remained eligible to play. 

Brown made his debut for the Patriots in Sunday’s win against the Miami Dolphins, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. His contract with the team included a $9 million signing bonus with the first $5 million due Monday and the remaining to be paid by Jan. 15, 2020.

The NFL met with Brown’s accuser in the civil lawsuit, Britney Taylor, on Monday (USA TODAY Sports does not identify victims of sexual assault unless they come forward themselves, as Taylor has done). The league has also been in contact with the lawyers of the woman who Brown allegedly texted this week. 

Nike announced Thursday it was dropping Brown as a sponsored athlete.

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