FOXBORO, Mass. — Antonio Brown took the field in a new, position-appropriate uniform Thursday afternoon outside Gillette Stadium.
After sporting a temporary No. 1 on Wednesday during his first practice with the New England Patriots, Brown switched to No. 17 ahead of Thursday’s session.
The No. 84 the wide receiver has worn throughout his NFL career currently belongs to suspended Patriots tight end Ben Watson.
No. 17 has an inauspicious legacy in New England. Seven wideouts have worn it in the regular season during the Bill Belichick era: Dedric Ward, Chad Jackson, Taylor Price, Greg Salas, Aaron Dobson, Bernard Reedy and Riley McCarron.
Dobson is the most accomplished member of that group (53 catches, 698 yards, four touchdowns during his Patriots tenure), and he was cut before the end of his rookie contract and never played another game in the NFL.
As ESPN’s Mike Reiss noted, Brown’s father, Eddie, wore No. 17 while playing in the Arena Football League.
Damoun Patterson, who spent last season on the Patriots’ practice squad, sported No. 17 this summer before being released during final roster cuts.
It remains to be seen whether Brown, who was accused of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit one day after signing with the Patriots earlier this week, will play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots had perfect attendance at practice Thursday for the second consecutive day.