Without intervention from NFL, Patriots appear ready to play Antonio Brown against Jets

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By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Update: The Patriots have decided that it's no longer worth moving forward with Antonio Brown. The team announced on Friday that they've released the wide receiver after just one game and 11 days with the organization.

FOXBORO, Mass. -- It appears that nothing has changed with Antonio Brown. The only thing standing between the receiver playing for the Patriots on Sunday against the Jets is the NFL itself.

Brown was present at practice again for the Pats on Friday in Foxboro, minutes after the end of another contentious Bill Belichick press conference. The head coach said as part of his opening remarks that he won't "have any comment on any of the off-the-field situations or questions on that." Asked repeatedly about Brown with questions at least tangentially related to his off-field issues, Belichick eventually cut off his presser early.

Asked whether he expected Brown to be available on Sunday, Belichick said, "He's on our roster."

At this point it's unrealistic to expect the Patriots to cut ties with Brown, certainly not this week. But the possibility of the NFL placing him on the commissioner's exempt list still looms.

Would Brown's reported text messages to an accuser from a recent SI story qualify as a potential violation of the personal conduct policy? One of the purposes of the list is to allow the league to look into whether a violation of the policy occurred. They don't need to find a violation before placing him on the list.

It's pretty clear, however, that Belichick and the Patriots are leaving that in the league's hands. But if they haven't placed Brown on the exempt list by now, it's much less likely to happen before Sunday. So all signs point to Brown suiting up for his first home game as a Patriot against the Jets at Gillette Stadium.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].