Earlier this week, Belichick wouldn't commit to an answer when asked if AB would play on Sunday ... telling the media the team was taking things one day at a time.
But, as Ian pointed out, AB wouldn't be getting reps at practice if he wasn't expected to play -- that's just the Belichick way.
As for as his eligibility, neither the NFL nor New England has said Antonio CAN'T play ... despite a new lawsuit that was filed on Monday in which Britney Taylor alleges AB raped her in Miami back in 2018.
In her suit, Taylor also accuses Brown of inappropriate sexual acts in 2017 ... including one incident where she says Brown "began masturbating near her without her knowledge and ejaculated on her back."
For his part, Brown -- through his attorney, Darren Heitner, and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus -- has strongly denied the allegations.
Since the case is civil, and NOT criminal -- NFL officials didn't rush to place Brown on the Commissioner's Exempt List, which would almost certainly have happened had charges been filed.
Rapoport reported Friday morning if Brown doesn't play -- it'll likely be due to football reasons and NOT the new accusations against the embattled wide out.
Remember, the guy is still dealing with injured feet due to a cryotherapy mishap.
"Nothing has stepped in and stopped Antonio from being eligible to play," Rapoport said. "It certainly seems like that is the direction things are going to go in New England."
The Patriots square off with the Dolphins in Miami at 10 AM PT ... and inactives lists are due a couple hours before game time, so things won't be official either way until early Sunday.