Antonio Brown is back?
Coach Jon Gruden thinks the Raiders star wide receiver will fully participate in practice soon.
“He took all the reps today in our walkthrough,” Gruden told reporters Saturday. “He showed great retention and we’ll see what happens here with this afternoon. We’re going to have a walkthrough today as well … so we’ll pick it up tomorrow.”
#Raiders coach Jon Gruden anticipates Antonio Brown practicing soon:. “He took all the reps today in our walkthrough. He showed great retention and we’ll see what happens here with this afternoon; we’re going to have a walkthrough today as well…so we’ll pick it up tomorrow.”
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) August 17, 2019
Brown ran routes and caught passes Thursday in Arizona ahead of the team’s second exhibition game and also was part of Oakland’s walkthrough back in California over the weekend.
Gruden seems hopeful Brown could finally join the team for good Sunday.
The start to the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver’s first year with the Raiders has already been shrouded in turmoil. After he arrived to camp in a hot air balloon, Brown was quickly placed on the non-football injury list. It was later reported Brown was dealing with frostbitten feet after a cryotherapy equipment mishap.
Then there’s the helmet.
First, the NFL told Brown he couldn’t use his old helmet, because it was not approved anymore. Brown showed up at practice with an old Steelers helmet he had crudely repainted with colors approximating the Raiders design. More recently, Brown refused to play without his old helmet. Now, the league will allow Brown to wear the specific model of Schutt helmet he loves, provided it is less than 10 years old.
While Brown is certainly keeping everyone on their toes this early in the season, his teammates are focused on the football aspect and quarterback Derek Carr is already impressed in Brown’s limited showing.
“The man’s recall is unbelievable,” Carr said. “He came in and, no mental errors, and in this offense, that’s not easy to do. Especially, whenever you have a day off … you come back and you’re like, you’ve got to stay on coach Gruden’s offense all the time. You can tell Antonio’s been studying because he came out and didn’t miss a beat.
“He was a part of everything we did today.”