NFL news and notes: Brown practises after rape accusation, Hill out for 4-6 weeks

By Sports Desk September 11, 2019

There was not a shortage of news heading into Week 2 as the Antonio Brown chronicle took yet another turn.

Elsewhere around the league, the reality of injuries suffered opening weekend began to sink in as some players hit injured reserve early.

Three things that matter

Antonio Brown practices in wake of rape accusation

Just when you thought the saga was finally over, the New England Patriots receiver was accused of sexually assaulting and raping his former trainer, Britney Taylor, in a civil lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday. The lawsuit alleges there were three separate incidents, two of which occurred in June 2017 and a third that took place in May 2018.

Brown's attorney denied "each and every allegation in the lawsuit". Patriots coach Bill Belichick could not confirm if Brown would play against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 but he was on the field for practice at the team facility in a number one uniform.

"I'm not going to be expanding on the statements that have already been given," Belichick told reporters sternly. "When we know more, we'll say more."

Tyreek Hill likely out 4-6 weeks

The Kansas City Chiefs appear optimistic, however, as the team opted not to place the receiver on injured reserve. It was a good indication that Hill avoided serious injury, but it still leaves a sizable void on offense. The setback also comes after Hill agreed to a reported three-year, $54million extension despite an offseason overshadowed by numerous off-field incidents. 

Meanwhile, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes practiced on Wednesday after playing through a sprained ankle in the team's chippy Week 1 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Quincy Enunwa out for season with another neck injury

The New York Jets receiver has now suffered two in the past three years, though it is unclear whether the most recent injury is considered career-threatening. Enunwa previously missed the entire 2017 season after hurting his neck in training camp.

New York are already without tight end Chris Herndon, who is serving a four-game suspension to start the season, so losing Enunwa is another blow to the team's offense, especially after he signed a four-year extension worth $36m in December.

Two things that don't matter

Hunter Henry is hurt again

The Los Angeles Chargers tight end is no stranger to injuries, but the latest is pretty significant. The team announced Henry suffered a tibial plateau fracture – a break in the upper portion of the tibia or the shin bone – to his left knee on Sunday and will be out for an undisclosed time, though it was reported he could miss four to six weeks.

Henry, who had four catches for 60 yards against the Indianapolis Colts, previously suffered a lacerated kidney in 2017 and a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the 2018 preseason.

AJ Green out of walking boot

While there is still no timeline for his return, it is a positive sign for the Cincinnati Bengals receiver, who continues to make strides in his recovery from preseason ankle surgery.

"Everything's going in a great direction," Green told reporters in his first public comments since suffering the injury during training camp.

Green added that he ran for about 10 minutes on Tuesday and worked out his legs with the team's strength and conditioning coach on Wednesday, noting that his range of motion remains limited but is improving.

One video you have to see

Because even after 18 years, we will never forget.

Wednesday's tweet of the day

After all his helmet drama, Brown did not even wear the headgear he had settled on before leaving the Oakland Raiders during his first practice with the Patriots.

Related items

  • Saquon Barkley 'not out for the season' with ankle injury Saquon Barkley 'not out for the season' with ankle injury

    Saquon Barkley is hopeful an ankle injury sustained in the New York Giants' clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not keep him out for the season.

    The Giants running back suffered a reported high ankle sprain in Sunday's 32-31 comeback win over the Buccaneers that is expected to cost him significant playing time.

    However, Barkley is optimistic he will return before the season is over.

    "I'm not out for the season," Barkley told reporters at his locker after the game, via 

    "I'm going to do whatever I can to get back as quickly as possible. Not for myself, but for my team. That's what I continue to think about. I caught myself getting a little upset on the sideline just because I wasn't able to be out there with those guys."

    Barkley tweaked his ankle in the second quarter, only to go back into the game. But just a few plays later, he was tackled and needed help back to the locker room. He later came out in a walking boot and using crutches.

    Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Barkley did what he could to turn into the Giants' biggest cheerleader.

    "Even though I'm not in the game active, I'm still trying to rally the sideline, get the fans into it, that's what it's about," Barkley said.

    "It's not about you, it's about the team. Even though I know I’m not playing, I know I can impact the team with my voice. That's why I wanted to get back out there. I wanted to tell my team how happy I am, how proud I am that they worked their tails off and come out with a whole new mentality in the second half, built on that."

    Barkley is scheduled to have an MRI exam on Monday and reportedly could miss up to eight weeks as he recovers. 

    "I don't know too much about it," Barkley said. "I got hurt in my freshman year in college. Whatever it is, I promise to come back 10 times better and do what I can to help my team compete.

    "That's the only thing I was focused on, trying to do whatever I can to take that same mindset I have and try to compete at a high level in the weight room, on the football field, with this rehab, to get back on the field."

  • Baker Mayfield urges Cleveland Browns not to hit the panic button Baker Mayfield urges Cleveland Browns not to hit the panic button

    The Cleveland Browns must not panic despite a sluggish start to the NFL season, which continued with a 20-13 defeat to Los Angeles Rams, according to quarterback Baker Mayfield.

    The defeat left the Browns 1-2 for the season, with Mayfield struggling to make his mark in Sunday's encounter.

    Mayfield finished 18-of-36 passing for 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception and, put under pressure by the Rams' Aaron Donald, was also sacked three times.

    The Browns face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 and Mayfield accepted his performance - as well as those of his offensive team-mates - was not up to scratch, though he believes Freddie Kitchens' side are on the right track as long as they cut out recurring errors.

    "Don't hit the panic button," Mayfield told a news conference when asked how the Browns could correct their form.

    "I think we realise how close we are but that's where the frustration comes in, we can't keep making the same mistakes, we have to do our job and have to hit the reset button.

    "I think we improved in a lot of areas but when you play a team like the Rams the little things will get you.

    "[We're] just not executing. Just execution, that's what it comes down to, our red-zone efficiency is a huge area for us to improve on.

    "We have to be more consistent with everybody doing their job. It seems right now we either have one guy out of place or I'm not doing my job, it's one thing every play so we've got to eliminate that, first and foremost. Execution is the most important thing.

    "The defence played out of their minds. They played great. If we have a defence playing like that then the offence has to pick up their end and that starts with me."

    While Mayfield shouldered the responsibility for the Browns' stuttering offensive performance, coach Kitchens insisted it was his decisions that led to the defeat.

    "I was proud of how the guys competed tonight, they fought until the end and they just came up short," he told a news conference.

    "Defensively they kept battling, offensively it was difficult but they kept fighting and that's all you can ask for. I've got to do a better job for them.

    "We just didn't do a good enough job. I didn't, as a coach, do a good enough job of putting these guys in strong situations."

  • Rams hold off Browns Rams hold off Browns

    The Los Angeles Rams made it three straight wins to start the NFL season, overcoming the Cleveland Browns 20-13 on Sunday.

    A big defensive stop on the final play helped the Rams seal their win at FirstEnergy Stadium.

    It was another primetime test for the Browns, who were hosting a Sunday night game for the first time in 11 years.

    But a learning curve and a strong defensive performance from the Rams kept Cleveland from picking up the victory and they fell to 1-2.

    Three takeaways from the Rams' narrow victory

    It wasn't pretty, but it didn't have to be

    The Rams barely escaped with a win in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers, and again on Sunday against the Browns.

    There were plenty of miscues on both sides, which started when the Browns were not able to get into the end zone after a turnover right before half-time. Instead, they settled for a field goal – a costly error seeing how they lost by one touchdown. Cleveland again failed to take advantage of a big defensive play by going three-and-out after a TJ Carrie takeaway.

    Meanwhile, Cooper Kupp seemed to be Jared Goff's saving grace. Goff completed 24 of his 38 passes and found the third-year receiver 11 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns. 

    Another late mistake from Goff put the Browns in position to tie or win, but they could not withstand Los Angeles' defensive pressure.


    Baker Mayfield needs to keep up the pace

    Mayfield has received criticism for holding the ball too long and not finding open receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. He did so once again against the Rams, who have one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in Aaron Donald.

    According to Next Gen Stats, even when Mayfield was able to escape pressure, he struggled to connect with his receivers.

    Mayfield finished 18-of-36 passing for 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was also sacked three times.

    The Browns, obviously, do well when Mayfield can move quickly. He will need to do so as their schedule is packed with tough defensive units like the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 and the Denver Broncos in Week 8.


    Browns' new secondary step up

    Cleveland's entire starting secondary were out due to injury, and five (out of seven total injured players) out of the game were part of the defensive unit. But that did not seem to be a big problem against the reigning NFC champions.

    The Browns started with risky man-to-man coverage against the talented Rams receiving corp and it worked, forcing Los Angeles to go three-and-out on their first drive. They kept Goff and company touchdown-less through the first half, an area the Rams have struggled with, having scored just one first-half touchdown in their past three games.

    In the second half, the defensive backs continued to disrupt Goff.

    And another takeaway set up the Browns' final drive.

    So, while the offense continue to work through some growing pains, the Browns can look to their secondary for help.

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