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Report: Antonio Brown Accused of Rape in Federal Lawsuit

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Former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has been accused of three incidents of sexual assault in a federal lawsuit, as first reported the New York Times.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday, the incidents occurred in June 2017 and May 2018, when Brown was still with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The suit claims Brown forced himself on a former college associate Britney Taylor, who was a gymnast at Central Michigan from 2010-11 that Brown later hired as a trainer. Brown played at Central Michigan from 2007-09.

According to the Times, Brown exposed himself and kissed Taylor without her permission, and masturbated onto her in 2017 and then “forcibly” raped her in 2018.

“As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision,” Taylor said to the Times in a statement released by her lawyer. “I have found strength in my faith, my family, and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault.”

E-mails that Brown allegedly sent to Taylor were part of the lawsuit.

In a statement released by attorney Darren Heitner, Brown denied the allegations and claimed that “any sexual interaction with Mr. Brown was entirely consensual.”

Heitner also claimed that Taylor had previously been involved in a scheme to defraud Brown.

ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported that Brown intends to counter-sue Taylor for extortion.

It is unclear if Taylor ever filed charges against Brown with police in either incident.

Brown was traded from the Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in March after a string of incidents that began with him walking out of the team’s Week 17 practice in 2018.

Off the field, Brown was cited for reckless driving and was sued by a celebrity chef and personal trainer.

He arrived at Oakland’s training camp via hot air balloon, but was largely absent, citing a frostbite injury from a cryotherapy chamber and engaging in a battle with the NFL over his preferred helmet being de-certified.

After eventually settling matters with the league, Brown was fined by the Raiders. He made those fines public, igniting an altercation with general manager Mike Mayock in which Brown reportedly threatened Mayock and referred to him with a racial slur.

The Raiders suspended and fined Brown and voided his contract guarantees, which prompted him to ask for his release. Late last week, the Raiders released Brown and he signed with the New England Patriots.

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Around the NFL: Ravens Roll as Texans Fall to 0-2

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Welcome to Around the NFL, where Cale Berger of Steelers Now will recap the week’s action and take a look ahead at some of the most important matchups from the Pittsburgh Steelers perspective.

Baltimore Ravens 33, Houston Texans 16

Houston’s nightmarish start to the 2020 season went from bad to worse Sunday, as they have now started 0-2 with losses to the Chiefs and Ravens.

The Texans did fairly good job of keeping quarterback Lamar Jackson contained on the ground, but Baltimore’s plethora of running backs picked up the slack. Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins combined for 176 yards and a touchdown, averaging a startling 8.38 yards per carry.

Jackson still found a way to make an impact with his arm, throwing for 204 yards and a scores. He completed 75% of his passes and connected with nine different receivers.

Baltimore’s defense did their part as well, making like difficult for quarterback Deshaun Watson. They sacked him four times and intercepted him once. Former Steelers linebacker L.J. Fort also returned a Keke Coutee fumble for a touchdown.

With the Ravens firing on all cylinders and Pittsburgh also sitting at 2-0 on the year, their Oct. 25 meeting cannot come soon enough.

Things will not get easier for either team in Week Three. The Ravens are set for another heavyweight slugfest on Monday Night Football next week versus the Chiefs, while the Texan’s brutal opening slate continues against the Steelers at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Los Angeles Rams 37, Philadelphia Eagles 19

A week after he was sacked eight times by Washington in the season opener, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz struggled again on Sunday, but the pass protection was not to blame this time. Philadelphia’s patchwork offensive line did not allow a single sack to star defensive tackle Aaron Donald and company, yet Wentz still looked inaccurate and inconsistent.

The former No. 2-overall pick went 26 of 43 for 242 yards and no scores with two costly interceptions. Wentz was even booed off the field after missing a wide-open receiver on a crucial third down. Unfortunately for Wentz, there were no fans in attendance at Lincoln Financial Field.

Even in a pandemic, Philly gonna Philly.

The man picked prior to Wentz in the 2016 NFL Draft looked great in contrast, as quarterback Jared Goff completed 20 of 27 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. All three of Goff’s touchdown tosses went to tight end Tyler Higbee, who made his fantasy owners across the country jumping for joy.

Former Steelers defensive tackle Javon Hargrave made his Eagles debut yesterday, but played sparingly and recorded no stats. In comparison, Hargrave’s replacement on the Pittsburgh defensive line Tyson Alualu was a problem for the Broncos’ offense all afternoon, posting a sack, a tackle-for-loss, batting down one pass and hitting the quarterback twice.

The Rams will travel to Buffalo next weekend. The Eagles will host the Bengals and visit the 49ers, before travelling to Pittsburgh in Week Five.

Arizona Cardinals 30, Washington 15

Reigning NFL Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray was stellar again on Sunday, accounting for three total touchdowns (one passing, two rushing) and accounted for 353 yards of offense, as the Cardinals improved to 2-0 to start the year.

Murray also looks to have seamlessly built a rapport with his newest weapon DeAndre Hopkins, who had eight receptions for 68 yards and touchdown in the win. The duo has already combined for 22 completions and 219 yards through two games.

Running back Kenyan Drake also rushed for 86 yards, as Arizona looks like a contender in a stacked NFC West division.

Washington’s offensive duo of the future did not disappoint either, with quarterback Dwayne Haskins completing 19 of 33 passes for 223 yards and a score. Fellow Ohio State Buckeye Terry McLaurin was the biggest beneficiary Sunday, catching seven passes for 125 yards and the score. Still, their connection was not enough to overcome their porous defense.

Washington will battle a pair of AFC North foes in the Browns next Sunday and the Ravens Week Four. Arizona faces Detroit next at home.

REST OF THE SCHEDULE

Cleveland Browns 35, Cincinnati Bengals 30 (Thursday)

Chicago Bears 17, New York Giants 13

Dallas Cowboys 40, Atlanta Falcons 39

Green Bay Packers 42, Detroit Lions 21

Tennessee Titans 33, Jacksonville Jaguars 30

Indianapolis Colts 28, Minnesota Vikings 11

Buffalo Bills 31, Miami Dolphins 28

San Francisco 49ers 31, New York Jets 13

Pittsburgh Steelers 26, Denver Broncos 21

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Carolina Panthers 17

Kansas City Chiefs 23, Los Angeles Chargers 20 (OT)

Seattle Seahawks 35, New England Patriots 30

New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders, 8:15 p.m. Monday, ESPN

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Around the NFL: The Browns’ Backs Pummel Bengals

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Welcome to Around the NFL, where Cale Berger of Steelers Now will recap early-week action and take a look ahead at some of the most important matchups from the Pittsburgh Steelers perspective.

THURSDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS

Cleveland Browns 35, Cincinnati Bengals 30 

An AFC North rivalry kicked off Week Two on Thursday night, as the Cleveland Browns rode their power running game to a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt made their case as the league’s best rushing tandem, carrying for a combined 210 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Hunt also caught a score. The Bengals, who had the worst rush defense in the league last year, had no answer for Cleveland one-two punch, which looks even better with the addition of fullback Andy Janovich this offseason.

Success in the running game led to play-action opportunities for quarterback Baker Mayfield, which he and his receivers took full advantage of. Mayfield finally got on the same page with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., with the two connecting on a 43-yard score in the second quarter. Thursday showed that new head coach Kevin Stefanski’s system can work when the Browns are successful in the running game early and often.

The Browns defense battered quarterback Joe Burrow all night, sacking him three times and hitting on plenty more occasions. Still, Burrow was impressive in front of a national audience Thursday, remaining calm and collected under constant pressure from the ferocious Browns pass rush. He completed 37 of 61 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns.

Cleveland will host Washington next, and Cincinnati will travels to Philadelphia for their second-straight road game.

AROUND THE NFL THIS WEEKEND

Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m. FOX regional

A week after allowing quarterback Carson Wentz to be sacked eight times by Washington, the Philadelphia Eagles will welcome the league’s most fearsome pass rusher to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams and defensive tackle Aaron Donald come to town.

Donald dominated the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football last week, recording a sack, a tackle-for-loss and four quarterback hits. His success opened up rush lanes for his teammates as well, as the Rams had three sacks, three tackles-for-loss and six hits as a team.

Luckily for the Eagles, reinforcements are on the way. Not only will they return tackle Lane Johnson, but they will also get back starting running back Miles Sanders. Both will have to provide a major boost in pass protection for Philadelphia to get back to their winning ways.

Also, former Steelers defensive tackle Javon Hargrave will make his Philadelphia debut on Sunday as well after missing their season opener with both a pectoral and hamstring injury. He should provide a big boost to an Eagles defense that allowed two rushing touchdowns to Washington last week.

Washington at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m., WPGH-TV

Following the Steelers’ home opener against the Broncos, fans in the Pittsburgh area will be treated to a duel of young quarterbacks in the late afternoon slot when Washington visits the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams are also coming off upset victories over division rivals.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2019 behind 3,722 passing yards and 24 total touchdowns. Murray was just as good kicking off 2020, posting 321 total yards and two touchdowns in Arizona’s shocking 24-20 win over San Francisco.

While his numbers may not be as eye-popping as Murray, Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins also led his squad to a Week 1 win behind 178 passing yards and a touchdown.

The two 2019 first rounders have been solid early, but both have struggled to protect the football throughout their short careers. Murray has 15 turnovers in 17 career games, Haskins has nine giveaways in ten.

As is often the case with young quarterbacks, success for Murray and Haskins on Sunday and going forward will be predicated on and determined by their ability to take care of the football.

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans, 4:25 p.m. Sunday, KDKA-TV

No team was dealt a tougher hand to start the season than the Houston Texans, who begin 2020 facing three AFC juggernauts. Sandwiched between their opening night loss to the Chiefs and a Week 3 visit to Pittsburgh, the Texans will battle reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday.

Sunday’s matchup will be decided by which team dominates the redzone. The Ravens were phenomenal in the redzone offensively last season, scoring a league-leading 43 touchdowns. Houston was not as stellar defensively, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 71.4% of their trips, the highest rate in the league.

The story was the same for Houston last week against Kansas City, as they allowed the Chiefs to score on seven of their eight redzone trips.

Baltimore also continued their trend of success from last season, scoring in the redzone at an 83% clip against the Browns last Sunday.

The Texans may have to do the impossible this week to get their first win of the season, which means stopping Jackson and Baltimore’s abundancy of running backs from finding the goal line.

REST OF THE SCHEDULE

New York Giants at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. CBS regional

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m, FOX regional

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m., FOX regional

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m., CBS regional

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m., FOX regional

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m., CBS regional

San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets 1 p.m., FOX regional

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m., KDKA-TV

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m., FOX regional

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m., CBS regional

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks, 8:20 p.m., NBC

New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders, 8:15 p.m. Monday, ESPN

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Cam Heyward Named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1

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Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward has been named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1.

Heyward was honored for installing his first Little Free Library, a book-sharing box placed in underserved communities around the Pittsburgh area.

Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that “inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.”

The installation of the book-sharing boxes marks the launch of the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy Project, a new initiative of the Cameron Heyward Foundation that will work to promote children’s literacy and honor his late grandparents, both of whom were lifelong educators in Pittsburgh.

Drafted in first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Heyward has spend his entire career in Pittsburgh. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, and has twice received First-Team All-Pro honors.

Heyward and the Steelers agreed to a four-year, $71.4 million contract extension on Sept. 6 that will allow him to retire in Pittsburgh and make him the highest-paid defense player over the age of 30 in NFL history.

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