Former Patriots receiver Antonio Brown continues to train in hopes of a return this season, while the NFL determines any discipline from accusations of sexual assault made against him in a civil lawsuit. New England players and coaches would welcome him back, sources said.
Owner Robert Kraft, who released Brown after playing one game with the team, is the deciding factor, and has not shown an inclination to give the receiver another shot after his repeated missteps on social media in the aftermath of his release by the Patriots months ago. However, if Kraft were to reconsider, sources said Brown's teammates and coaches would support bringing him back, with Brown's chemistry with Tom Brady obvious from his initial practice with the team and Brown getting along well with all parties during his brief stint there.
There is no timetable for an NFL decision on Brown, and the league is notorious for taking its time in investigations of off-field impropriety. There is also nothing precluding an NFL team from signing Brown as a free agent. Brady was a big proponent of Brown's ability to lift the offense -- New England continues to be short at skill positions and unable to push the ball downfield -- and would be very open to a reunion with him, while Brown did not present any problems or issues for coaches in New England either, after major clashes with the staff in Pittsburgh and Oakland.
Despite barely practicing with the team, Brown caught four balls for 56 yards and a touchdown in his lone game, and his presence opened up the offense for others. Brown remains tied for third on the team in touchdown receptions, and the Patriots are running out of internal options to upgrade the roster before the playoffs. With Brady a free agent at the end of the season, and the Patriots chasing a seventh Lombardi Trophy, the will to win once more cannot be understated.