Patriots release Antonio Brown after claims of sexual misconduct, intimidation of accuser

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The New England Patriots released wide receiver Antonio Brown on Friday, 11 days after he formally joined the club following a well-publicized breakup with the Oakland Raiders.

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

Since Brown was placed on New England's active roster Sept. 9, two women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against him. One of the women, a former trainer of Brown, filed a civil suit in South Florida federal court alleging that Brown raped her. Another woman told Sports Illustrated that Brown exposed himself to her while she was working on a mural at his Pittsburgh home.

Brown, who has denied any wrongdoing, appeared to take his release in stride, tweeting: "Thanks for the opportunity appreciate @Patriots" alongside pictures of him talking to head coach Bill Belichick and hugging quarterback Tom Brady during last week's 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins. In that game, Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Brown's release was announced hours after Belichick cut short his scheduled Friday press conference following repeated questions about Brown. In an opening statement, the coach said, "there are some things that we are looking into, but I’m not going to comment on any of the off-the-field situations or questions on that."

After a series of questions from the media about Brown and his potential availability for Sunday's game against the New York Jets, Belichick walked out of the press room, saying: "I'm good. Thank you."

New England reached a one-year deal with Brown on Sept. 7, hours after he was released by Oakland. The 31-year-old was traded to the Raiders in March after wearing out his welcome with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was a four-time All-Pro in nine seasons.

This is a developing story, check back for more updates.

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