FOXBORO — It’s only been one practice in New England, but Antonio Brown made a quick impression in his first on-the-field action with the Patriots.
“Looked good,” said one Patriots defender after Wednesday’s workout. “Good player . . . Great player.”
But that should come as no surprise. There is no question about Brown’s skill level or his ability to positively impact the Patriots offense. He remains among the most talented receivers in football after six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
The question is how will Brown fit in the locker room? How will he adapt to the business-like, professional atmosphere fostered at One Patriot Place? And particularly now, with a sexual assault lawsuit filed against Brown in federal court in Florida, how will he be embraced by teammates as he tries to make the transition to life with the Patriots?
“I think for the most part you only try to judge people on what you get from them,” Devin McCourty said Wednesday. “You try to get to know someone. I think this is a little different. He’s going through a personal situation. And personally none of us really know him yet. We’re just starting to get to know guys. I think that’s what you kinda do. You try to get to know anybody new that comes in here.
“I think that’s all a part of getting new teammates is trying to get to know them for yourself and not judging them off what happened with other teams but trying to get to know guys.”
But Brown’s current situation might make it more difficult for him to spend a lot of time connecting with his new teammates.
They already don’t have much in the way of background with the player who played his college ball at Central Michigan and has spent almost the entirety of his pro career in Pittsburgh. He has this lawsuit situation hanging over him, the details of which he might be reluctant to share with people he hardly knows. And he has a lot to catch up on in order to get into a huddle with Tom Brady on Sunday in Miami and have an understanding of what’s going on.
There might not be much time for meet and greets.
Asked what type of teammate Brown has been since signing, McCourty acknowledged that it’s hard to get a grasp for a guy you’ve spent minimal time with, but he likes what he’s seen in the early going in terms of Brown’s willingness to work.
“Can’t really tell. Like you said, it’s a day,” McCourty explained. “He’s been working hard on the football field today, his first day out there, doing different things, trying to get ready to go. But it’s a lot. You come in here and guys have been at it since April and you just get thrown into it and you just try to learn and to do as much as possible.
“So far I think he’s done that. Obviously he’s a veteran in this league in his 10th year so he understands what it takes to be out there and be prepared.”
McCourty added: “We’ve had a lot of guys come in at different times throughout the year and been able to help us in different ways. The goal is to come in, learn as much as possible, watch the guys that are around you. Doesn’t have to be captains. We have a lot of guys that do it the right way in here. I know everybody in the outside world has created this so-called ‘Patriot Way,’ but to me it’s coming in, figuring out how we do things and trying to do it the best way you can.”
On the field that shouldn’t be an issue. It sounds like practice No. 1 for Brown showed his new teammates that the Patriots acquired not only a talented player, but one who’ll work.
Off the field, how he meshes in a locker room with an atmosphere cultivated over the course of two decades, is where the questions lay.
CURRAN: This is what the Patriots signed up for with Antonio Brown>>>
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