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Report: Antonio Brown Will Be Eligible Sunday vs. Miami

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Former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown will be eligible to play for New England this Sunday against Miami, according to a report by Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Brown, who signed with the Patriots late last week, was named in a federal lawsuit on Tuesday that accused Brown of committing sexual assault and rape against one of his former physical trainers.

The NFL has begun an independent investigation into the claims brought up by the lawsuit. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could have placed Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list — which would have allowed him to be paid but not play — but according to Schefter, did not, because there is no formal criminal investigation into Brown at this time.

That could change in the future. Allegheny County district attorney Stephen Zappala said on Wednesday that he will look into the allegations, specifically one act that was alleged to have taken place at Brown’s home north of Pittsburgh.

“When something’s filed, and alleges a crime was committed, we take a look at it,” Zappala said to KDKA.

The NFL and/or the Patriots could have also preemptively suspended Brown, citing the league’s personal conduct policy and a morality clause in his contract with the Patriots.

Brown has denied the allegations. He has practiced with the Patriots this week. New England head coach Bill Belichick was noncommittal when asked on Tuesday if Brown will play this week. The Patriots will play the Dolphins in Miami at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

NFL

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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Report: Titans to Allow 7,000 Fans for Game Against Steelers

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The Tennessee Titans will reportedly announce Thursday that they will be able to have 7,000 fans in attendance for their Week 4 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to Outkick.com’s Clay Travis.

The Oct. 4 meeting between the two AFC sides will be the first game with fans inside Nissan Stadium, with the total gradually increasing over the following weeks. Approximately 8,600 fans are planned to be in attendance Oct. 11 against the Buffalo Bills and then 10,400 are expected the following week when the Houston Texans visit on Oct. 18.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper is expected to make a formal announcement this afternoon, Travis reports.

While the Steelers have already ruled out fans for their first two home games against the Denver Broncos this Sunday and the Texans on Sept. 27, the organization has not yet announced a decision on fan attendance for the remainder of the season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were the only team that played in front of fans this past weekend, with seating capped at 25% capacity inside TIAA Bank Field for their season-opening win against the Indianapolis Colts.

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NFL Announces Seven Positives in Last Round of Testing

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The NFL and NFLPA continue to release encouraging COVID-19 testing data, and Wednesday was no different.

In a press release Wednesday, the parties announced just two positive tests among players and five from other staff members from their last round of testing.

Spanning from Sept. 6 to 12, the league reported just two positive tests among all players, five among staff members.

40,479 total tests were administered to 7,437 players and staff across the league.

While the NBA and NHL have had no issues in the restart of their seasons over the last few months, the NFL is proving that professional sports leagues can operate successfully and suppress COVID-19 outbreaks. With the opening weekend already in the books and an extremely low positivity rate, optimism has to be high that the league can continue rolling through the 2020 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had no COVID-19 issues since running back Jaylen Samuels was removed from the Reserve list a month ago on Aug. 13.

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