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Antonio Brown accused of rape in civil lawsuit

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Antonio Brown has been accused of sexually assaulting his former trainer, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida.

In the lawsuit, a copy of which was reviewed by ESPN, Brown’s former trainer, Britney Taylor, accuses the newly signed New England Patriots receiver of sexually assaulting her on three separate occasions in 2017 and ’18.

The first alleged incident came in June 2017, with Taylor saying Brown exposed himself and kissed her without consent at one of his Pittsburgh-area homes. A month later, while at Brown’s home in his native Miami, Taylor alleges in the lawsuit, Brown masturbated near her without her knowledge and ejaculated on her back, then later bragged about it in a series of text messages. In May 2018, after a night out at a Miami-area club, Taylor says she went back to Brown’s home in Miami to use the bathroom and grab some food, and the receiver “forced her down onto a bed, pushed her face into the mattress, and forcibly raped her.”

Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner, said in a statement Tuesday night that the receiver and Taylor were involved in a “consensual personal relationship. Any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual.”

In a tweet on Tuesday, Heitner said that Brown “will leave no stone unturned and will aggressively defend himself, including all of his rights in countersuits.”

Taylor was a gymnast at Central Michigan, where Brown attended college. According to the lawsuit, they met in a Bible study group at the school and stayed friends, then fell out of touch for several years before reconnecting in June 2017, with Brown hiring Taylor to assist in his physical training.

In the lawsuit, Taylor says she believed their relationship was of a “brother-sister” type and acted accordingly.

The alleged incidents have left Taylor suffering “near-daily panic attacks and suicidal ideations,” per the lawsuit. She is seeking in excess of $75,000.

“As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,” Taylor said in a statement. “I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.”

Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler, spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Steelers before being traded this offseason to the Raiders. After a weeks-long saga with Oakland, he was released Saturday, and he officially signed two days later with the Patriots. He is scheduled to practice with New England for the first time on Wednesday.

There was no immediate comment from the Patriots or the NFL.

Heitner told ESPN’s Michael Eaves that he has “not been in contact with the league regarding this lawsuit.”



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Agent Peter Schaffer – Vontaze Burfict working to conform style to NFL

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Linebacker Vontaze Burfict is working this offseason to conform his style of play to the NFL after serving a 12-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit, his agent told NFL Network.

“Vontaze has spent the entire offseason studying and learning the proper code of conduct for participation in the NFL. He has watched tape, talked with coaches and NFL experts, doing everything he can to conform his passionate play to the rules of the NFL. This is a serious issue not only for Vontaze but all players and he is serious about doing things the right way and being a leader in playing football the right way,” agent Peter Schaffer told NFL Network.

Schaffer said his client has been working out at Arizona State, his alma mater.

Burfict, 29, is set to be an unrestricted free agent next month.

Burfict, who played for the Raiders last season, was suspended for a Week 4 hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle. He was ejected from that game for the hit.

The NFL cited his repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules in handing out the longest suspension ever for an on-field incident.

While with the Cincinnati Bengals, Burfict was repeatedly suspended by the NFL for egregious hits and violating its policy on performance-enhancers. He was fined regularly for hits that crossed the line, most notably the one to Antonio Brown’s head that helped motivate the Steelers to rally for an 18-16 playoff win in the 2015 season. That led to a three-game suspension to start the 2016 season. He also had a five-game suspension reduced to three games for a preseason hit in 2017. He was also fined $112,000 in the 2018 season for hits on Brown and James Conner in a game against Pittsburgh.



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Joe Burrow measured with 9-inch hands at NFL combine

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Another talking point regarding potential No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow surfaced when his measurements were taken on Monday morning at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Burrow’s hand size was measured at 9 inches, a source confirmed to ESPN. The information was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

Per ESPN Stats & Information, the length from pinkie to thumb was tied for the smallest among first-round quarterbacks measured at the combine since 2008. Ryan Tannehill and Jared Goff, the others with that hand size, were both instructed by current Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor.

Taylor and the Bengals could potentially draft Burrow with the franchise’s first top overall pick since 2003. Taylor, a former quarterback at Nebraska, had a 9-inch hand measurement at the 2007 combine.

Of the 35 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2008, 9 7/10 inches has been the average hand size, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who led Kansas City to victory at Super Bowl LIV and was named the game’s MVP, registered at 9¼ inches in 2017.

Over the past 10 years, a mere three quarterbacks with 9-inch hands have attempted more than 300 passes — Goff, Tannehill and Chad Henne. During that span, none of them has a Total QBR above 55.

Burrow enters this week’s scouting combine as the overwhelming favorite to be the top overall pick. The former LSU quarterback won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to a national championship in his final year of college.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert were measured with 10-inch hands. Along with Burrow, they are expected to be among the top quarterback prospects available in the upcoming draft.

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Joe Burrow measured with 9-inch hands at combine

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Another talking point regarding potential No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow surfaced when his measurements were taken on Monday morning at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Burrow’s hand size was measured at 9 inches, a source confirmed to ESPN. The information was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

Per ESPN Stats & Information, the length from pinkie to thumb was tied for the smallest among first-round quarterbacks measured at the combine since 2008. Ryan Tannehill and Jared Goff, the others with those hand sizes, happened to be instructed by current Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor.

Taylor and the Bengals could potentially draft Burrow with the franchise’s first top overall pick since 2003. Taylor, a former quarterback at Nebraska, had a 9-inch hand measurement at the 2007 combine.

Of the 35 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2008, 9 7/10 inches is the average hand size, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who led Kansas City to victory at Super Bowl LIV and was named the game’s MVP, registered at 9¼ inches in 2017.

Over the past 10 years, a mere three quarterbacks with 9-inch hands have attempted more than 300 passes — Goff, Tannehill and Chad Henne. During that span, none of them has a Total QBR above 55.

Burrow enters this week’s scouting combine as the overwhelming favorite to be the top overall pick. The former LSU quarterback won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to a national championship in his final year of college.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert were measured with 10-inch hands. Along with Burrow, they are expected to be among the top quarterback prospects available in the upcoming draft.

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