Patriots’ trade clears way for Antonio Brown

Bill Belichick isn’t concerned about Antonio Brown’s past.

He’s even less concerned about anyone outside the Patriots’ organization who questions whether the wide receiver, cut by the Raiders on Saturday, can fit into New England’s system without being disruptive.

That’s because Belichick remembers hearing similar sentiments about another outspoken receiver for whom he traded from Oakland more than a decade ago.

“It’s the same thing you said about Randy Moss when we brought him in,” Belichick said Tuesday.

Moss, who clashed with the coaching staffs in both Minnesota and Oakland before being shipped to New England in 2007, flourished with the Patriots. Moss, who was Tom Brady’s chief deep threat that season, had a career-high 23 touchdown receptions and 1,493 receiving yards on his way to earning All-Pro honors for the fourth and final time in his career.

Brown is coming off his sixth consecutive 1,000-yard season, but has yet to be on a Super Bowl-winning team.

Brown was traded from Pittsburgh to Oakland in the offseason. A bizarre foot injury, fight with the NFL over his helmet, skipped practices, multiple fines, a run-in with general manager Mike Mayock and odd social-media posts ultimately led to the decision to release him.

Brown agreed to a deal with New England just hours after being granted his wish to be released by the Raiders on Saturday.

How much the Patriots plan to use him Sunday when they visit division foe Miami remains to be seen.

To clear a path for Brown, the Patriots traded wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Jets for a 2021 sixth-round draft pick. ESPN first reported the deal — the first trade between the AFC East rivals since Belichick became the Patriots’ head coach in 2000. The last trade between the teams was actually when Belichick left the Jets for the Patriots, and New York got a first-round pick.

More updates on Jets: New York defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd, who was inactive for the the season opener, was suspended six games by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancers.

Meanwhile, the Jets signed Sam Ficken to try to solve their kicking woes. They waived Kaare Vedvik after he missed an extra-point try and a 45-yard field-goal attempt in the Jets’ 17-16 season-opening loss to Buffalo on Sunday. Ficken becomes the team’s fourth kicker since July.

Briefly: Kansas City returned De’Anthony Thomas to the active roster and waived fellow wide receiver Byron Pringle with the hope that it can sign him to the practice squad should he clear waivers. … Center Nick Martin signed a three-year, $33 million contract extension with Houston. … Pittsburgh likely will be without fullback and special-teams captain Rosie Nix (knee) for Sunday’s visit by the Seahawks.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Patriots-trade-clears-way-for-Antonio-Brown-14429683.php.

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