NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Antonio Brown investigation, return to football: I'll 'let you know'

Embattled NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown has reportedly been eyeing a return to football, but an investigation by the league into allegations of sexual misconduct could delay that as Commissioner Roger Goodell offered this as a timeline Wednesday: I’ll “let you know.”

Speaking at the NFL Fall league meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Goodell was asked to comment about the league’s ongoing investigation into allegations that Brown sexually assaulted his former trainer and sent intimidating text messages to another woman who had also accused him of sexual misconduct.

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“We’re still working at that,” Goodell said, according to Yahoo! Sports. “I will probably be getting an update when I get back to New York, but our folks have been working diligently on that, going through materials.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a news conference after the NFL Fall league meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a news conference after the NFL Fall league meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  (AP)

He continued: “There’s a lot of material to go through. When we reach a conclusion, we’ll obviously let you know.”

Brown was released from the Oakland Raiders just before the start of the 2019 season after a very public dispute with the organization. He was then picked up by the New England Patriots for 11 days before he was again released in the wake of the allegations. He played one game for the Pats this season.

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The now-free agent was first accused in a civil lawsuit filed in Florida of sexually assaulting and raping a former trainer on three separate occasions between 2017 and 2018 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He was then accused by another woman in a Sports Illustrated report of sexually assaulting her and then again of sending her “intimidating texts” after she came forward with her story.

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (17) scores a touchdown as Miami Dolphins cornerback Jomal Wiltz (33) attempts to defend, during the first half at an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. 

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (17) scores a touchdown as Miami Dolphins cornerback Jomal Wiltz (33) attempts to defend, during the first half at an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla.  (AP)

Although Brown vowed to never return to the NFL in Sept., recent reports cited unnamed sources who confirmed that he hopes the league’s investigation will quickly come to a close so he can play again.

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This may have been confirmed in a cryptic tweet by Brown on Tuesday where he said “Free AB.”

Brown is technically a free agent and can be signed by any team. But on Sept. 20 the league issued a statement saying he could be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list if picked up during the investigation, which would mean he would have to be paid despite not being eligible to play. A player on the exempt list is not allowed to practice or attend games, but he is allowed to be present at facilities for meetings, to work out, and to receive treatment.