ALAMEDA, Calif. — It was Howie Lengthy who broke it down for me a couple of years in the past, saying, “On every team, there’s usually a minimum of two and a maximum of seven knuckleheads on a roster.”
Lengthy wasn’t utilizing the time period as a disparaging comment. Relatively, he meant that knuckleheads, when channeling their vitality in a optimistic method, add greater than spice to a crew; they’re typically a lacking core ingredient that may jump-start a crew.
Certainly, large receiver Antonio Brown’s commerce to the Raiders would possibly really feel an terrible lot to wounded and cautious followers just like the woebegone deal for Randy Moss in 2005. You understand the story: Corridor of Fame expertise who blew up bridges on his means out of city from his earlier cease solely to reach unmotivated, dragging down a locker room. Moss clearly didn’t respect the coach on the time, Norv Turner, and the receiver admitted he didn’t like operating throughout the center, particularly on the Oakland Coliseum’s filth baseball infield.
This transfer, although, is extra like Andre Rison or Jerry Rice going to play for Jon Gruden on the flip of the century. Not solely did these guys respect Gruden, they’d huge chips on their shoulders with one thing to show.
And so they balled out.
Rison was 33 in 2000, his lone yr with Oakland, and caught 41 passes for 606 yards and 6 touchdowns, his second-highest TD mark since 1994. Rice? He was 39 when he performed for Gruden in 2001; he had 83 catches for 1,139 yards, and his 9 TDs have been his most since 1995.
Brown, a seven-time Professional Bowler and four-time first-team All-Professional who turns 31 on July 10, goes to the Raiders ultra-motivated and together with his Corridor of Fame credentials. Now let’s have a look at if the bundle the Raiders surrendered — a third- and a fifth-round choose to the Steelers, along with giving Brown three years for $50.125 million with incentives that may push the deal to $54.125 million, in accordance with a report by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter — is price it.
Brown arrives having led the NFL in landing catches with 15 in 2018 and has the utmost respect from Gruden, a sense that’s most assuredly mutual.
“He can run every route you dream up,” Gruden mentioned of Brown the week earlier than the Raiders confronted the Steelers in December. “I say that about different receivers, however he can run double strikes, he can run by you, he can run crossing routes, he is excellent after the catch. What is the best factor about this man, I’ve advised all of our receivers, if you happen to get an opportunity to observe him observe, you may see what unlocks the greatness in him.
“He is the hardest-working man, I believe, in soccer. Hardest-working participant I’ve ever seen observe. I’ve seen Jerry Rice, I’ve seen loads of good ones, however I put Antonio Brown on the prime.”
Antonio Brown discusses his points with Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin and Artwork Rooney II that led to his commerce request from the Steelers.
Sure, Gruden is thought to talk with a bit of hyperbole (final yr he mentioned Case Keenum could be the “No. 1 acquisition in soccer” by the Denver Broncos). However this appeared, effectively, extra honest.
“If there are any younger wideouts on the market, I would go watch him observe,” Gruden said of Brown. “You determine your self why he is such participant.”
Now, Gruden may not respect it if Brown decides to go all Fb Stay throughout a crew assembly. Or if Brown reveals as much as coaching camp in a helicopter. Sure, basic “knucklehead” strikes.
And positive, including Brown doesn’t make the Raiders immediate Tremendous Bowl contenders. They’ve far too many different holes, significantly on protection.
However Brown offers Oakland followers a gift on the way in which out of city to Las Vegas in 2020. He additionally offers Raiders quarterback Derek Carr the type of deep risk and constant performer Amari Cooper was not. Plus, whereas Brown was blowing up his relationship together with his former QB, Ben Roethlisberger, he was blowing kisses to Carr.
“He is particular, man,” Brown said of Carr at the 2018 Pro Bowl. “It has been an honor catching the ball from him. He is an amazing younger quarterback, younger champion, and [possesses] all the basics to be one of many best.”
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Purchaser beware? Locker room most cancers? A star on the decline who’s the epitome of a diva receiver on the lookout for a cash seize earlier than turning into a headliner on the Las Vegas Strip?
Not in accordance with Carr.
“If it really works out within the enterprise aspect, I do know the locker room will probably be arms large open to accepting Antonio.”