Neither the New England Patriots nor the Oakland Raiders were aware of rape allegations involving Antonio Brown until a civil sexual-assault lawsuit was filed by Britney Taylor, ESPN reported Thursday.
Representatives for Brown and Taylor have had discussions over the past few months but agreed to keep those discussions confidential before the suit was filed, sources told ESPN.
The confidentiality agreement could provide an explanation for Brown not notifying the Raiders nor the Patriots before he signed with New England on Monday.
The NFL plans to meet next week with Taylor, according to ESPN. Taylor, Brown’s former trainer, filed the lawsuit with the Southern District of Florida, accusing the wide receiver of sexually assaulting her on three occasions.
—Quarterback Sam Darnold is out indefinitely with mono and will not play Monday when the New York Jets host the Cleveland Browns. But that’s only the beginning of the bad news spreading for New York.
Darnold could wind up missing more than just one game, coach Adam Gase said, and he has already lost weight. The Jets play the New England Patriots in Week 3 before a bye the following week.
Le’Veon Bell played his first NFL game in 20 months last week, and the new Jets running back appeared to hold up fine. Gase said Bell would not practice because of a sore shoulder, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Bell was scheduled for an MRI exam. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the exam was “mostly precautionary” and didn’t show any major damage or tears.
—Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. accused New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams of encouraging “dirty hits” and said the coach’s tactics cost him much of the 2017 season.
Beckham injured his ankle in a 2017 preseason game against the Browns, whose defense was coached by Williams. The receiver, then with the New York Giants, eventually broke the ankle and missed 12 games that year.
“I had players on this team telling me that’s what he was telling them to do: take me out of the game, and it’s preseason,” Beckham told reporters. “So you just know who he is. That’s the man who’s calling the plays.”
—San Francisco rookie edge rusher Nick Bosa plans to play Sunday at Cincinnati, 49ers general manager John Lynch said.
Bosa hasn’t practiced this week due to ankle soreness. Lynch said the No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL draft aggravated his injury on the first snap in last week’s 31-17 win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“He’ll work kind of limited throughout the week, but he’s fully intending on playing,” Lynch said on 95.7 The Game, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “As far as the snaps, we’ll kind of see how that goes.”
—Eight players in their first year of eligibility highlight the 122 nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020.
Nominees include 63 offensive players, 43 defensive players and 16 from special teams. All represent the “modern era” of football, classified as players whose careers ended within the past 25 years.
First-time nominees are running back Maurice Jones-Drew; wide receiver Reggie Wayne; safety Troy Polamalu; linebackers Lance Briggs and Patrick Willis; special teamer Josh Cribbs; and defensive linemen Justin Smith and John Abraham.
—The NFL suspended Buffalo Bills rookie linebacker Tyrel Dodson six games without pay for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
The suspension begins immediately for Dodson, who had been on the commissioner’s exempt list since rosters were cut to 53 players before the season-opening weekend.
—Oakland Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley was listed as limited on the practice report, but he is set to play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther told reporters that Conley will be “good to go” after what initially appeared to be a potentially serious neck injury.
—Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice is expected to miss at least six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right knee.
Guice visited Dr. James Andrews on Thursday for a second opinion on his ailing knee, and the famed orthopedist performed the operation, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden confirmed. Gruden said the surgery was “minor.”
—In a quest for a safer helmet, the NFL is starting a $3 million program aimed at the development of new headgear that outperforms anything currently available.
Manufacturers, engineers and entrepreneurs all are welcome to submit prototypes in the NFL Helmet Challenge, with the goal of reducing head trauma.
The league will provide $2 million in grant funding to support development, with as much as $1 million awarded for a prototype that would be used to help reduce concussions.