The New England Patriots didn’t acquire Antonio Brown out of desperation.

Tom Brady’s arsenal of offensive weapons already was fairly loaded prior to the Patriots’ signing of the star wide receiver. As much was true on paper heading into the 2019 NFL season, and it was confirmed on the field in Week 1. New England’s offense looked incredibly sharp against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as Brady seemingly had his way against one of the better teams in the AFC.

Brown surely enjoyed seeing his new team start the campaign on a high note, but Chris Simms believes AB was issued a clear message via the Patriots’ dominant season-opening performance.

“You know who made a statement on Sunday? The New England Patriots,” Simms said on NBC Sports’ “Pro Football Talk.” “They said, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re gonna be awesome again and, uh, we haven’t even unleashed Antonio Brown yet. Hey, our passing game’s great.’ That was like a statement to the NFL and it was like a statement to Antonio Brown, who was sitting at home watching the game going, ‘Damn, they don’t really need me that much. I better act accordingly here or they will kick my butt out of the door in three seconds.’ ”

Brown had little room for error upon his arrival in Foxboro, but the ice he skates on now is even thinner. The 31-year-old on Tuesday was accused of rape in a federal lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida by his former trainer. Brown and his team quickly and unequivocally denied all of the allegations, which the NFL currently is investigating. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick unsurprisingly had no further comments about the matter while addressing the media Wednesday.

Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, took part in his first Patriots practice Wednesday. Belichick would not commit to Brown playing Sunday when New England travels to Miami for a Week 2 matchup with the Dolphins.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images