ALAMEDA, Calif. — It was Howie Lengthy who broke it down for me a couple of years in the past, saying, “On each staff, there’s normally a minimal of two and a most of seven knuckleheads on a roster.”
Lengthy wasn’t utilizing the time period as a disparaging comment. Slightly, he meant that knuckleheads, when channeling their power in a constructive method, add greater than spice to a staff; they’re typically a lacking core ingredient that may jump-start a staff.
Introducing, then, your latest Oakland Raiders, ahem, misfit … Sticky Bun, er, Mr. Massive Chest, er, AB84.
Certainly, Antonio Brown’s going to the Raiders by way of a commerce with the Pittsburgh Steelers may really feel an terrible lot to wounded and cautious followers just like the woebegone deal for Randy Moss in 2005. You realize 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 working throughout the center, particularly on the Oakland Coliseum’s grime baseball infield.
Supply: Steelers comply with deal Antonio Brown to Raiders. Story
This transfer, although, is extra like Andre Rison after which Jerry Rice going to play for Jon Gruden on the flip of the century. Not solely did these guys respect Gruden, that they had large chips on their shoulders with one thing to show.
They usually balled out.
Rison was 33 in 2000, his lone 12 months 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 had 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 along with his Corridor of Fame credentials. Now let’s examine if the package deal the Raiders surrendered — a third- and a fifth-round choose, plus giving him three years for $50.125 million, with incentives that may push the deal to $54.125 million, in response to reporting by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter — is value it.
Brown arrives having led the NFL in TD catches with 15 in 2018 and has the utmost respect from Gruden, a sense that’s most assuredly likewise.
“He can run each route you dream up,” Gruden stated 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 biggest factor about this man, I’ve informed all of our receivers, if you happen to get an opportunity to observe him apply, you may see what unlocks the greatness in him.
“He is the hardest-working man, I feel, in soccer. Hardest-working participant I’ve ever seen apply. I’ve seen Jerry Rice, I’ve seen a variety of good ones, however I put Antonio Brown on the high.”
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 understood to talk with a bit of hyperbole (simply final 12 months he stated Case Keenum can be the “No. 1 acquisition in soccer” by the Denver Broncos). However this appeared, nicely, extra honest.
“If there are any younger wideouts on the market, I might go watch him apply,” Gruden added of Brown. “You determine your self why he is such a superb participant.”
Now, Gruden won’t admire if Brown decides to go all Fb Reside throughout a staff assembly. Or if Brown exhibits as much as coaching camp in a helicopter. Sure, basic “knucklehead” strikes.
And certain, including Brown doesn’t make the Raiders instantaneous Tremendous Bowl contenders. They’ve far too many different holes, notably on protection.
However Brown offers Oakland followers a gift on the best way 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 along with his former QB, Ben Roethlisberger, Brown was blowing kisses to Carr.
“He is particular, man,” Brown stated of Carr at 2018 Professional Bowl. “It has been an honor catching the ball from him. He is an awesome younger quarterback, younger champion, and [possesses] all the basics to be one of many biggest.”
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Purchaser beware? Locker room most cancers? A star on the decline who’s the epitome of a diva receiver in search of a cash seize earlier than turning into a headliner on the Las Vegas Strip?
Not in response to Carr.
“It might be nice so as to add a man like that to your staff, expertise like that,” Carr stated at a charity occasion final weekend, in response to a report by the Fresno Bee. “I do not know what it may price. The contract stuff begins getting in the best way they usually obtained to determine numbers and all that type of stuff. I do not actually just like the enterprise aspect of soccer, however I identical to including good gamers to our soccer staff.
“If it really works out within the enterprise aspect, I do know the locker room might be arms large open to accepting Antonio.”
They stated the identical issues of Rison, Rice and Moss a technology or two in the past. This feels extra like the previous.
Are you going to argue with Lengthy?