It didn’t take long for the Oakland Raiders to make a decision on whether or not Antonio Brown will play Monday night against the Denver Broncos. At Friday’s practice, head coach Jon Gruden addressed the media and gave an update on Brown’s status, as ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez revealed.
“Antonio’s back today, we’re really excited about that,” said Gruden. “We’re ready to move on.”
Gruden was asked if Brown will play Monday night and he said: “that’s the plan.”
Well, there it is. What was one of the biggest NFL stories of the year, just got quickly resolved. This is definitely not the last we’ve heard of Antonio Brown drama, but it’s probably the last we’ll hear about this specific incident. This comes after he reportedly gave an “emotional apology” to the team. His apology must’ve been very genuine for him to not receive a punishment for his reported antics.
It was just Friday morning when an additional report came out that Brown had used a racial slur in his exchange with Mike Mayock. It’s a shocking turn of events that he’s not going to be suspended and must mean that the Raiders really value his impact on the field. Time will tell if this marriage can last, but it certainly hasn’t gotten off to a good start. Brown had a lot to lose in this situation considering the team could’ve voided the guaranteed money they owed him. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to adversity when he has more leverage.
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What to Expect of Antonio Brown Against the Broncos
Brown is going to be the focal point of the Raiders offense. The team wouldn’t have stuck by him if he wasn’t going to be. If most other players pulled what Brown did, they’d almost certainly be gone before touching the field. He’s the best player on the roster and Oakland needs him if they’re going to make any kind of playoff push.
The matchup against the Broncos is very important because it’s one of the two games the team will play in Oakland over the first eight weeks of the season. The Raiders really need to come out with a win. The optics of letting Brown play aren’t great for a young team, but it looks like they’re valuing short term success over anything.
Brown should see a lot of targets. Based on the fact that he unfollowed quarterback Derek Carr on Instagram, it may mean they potentially had some sort of a small falling out. Hopefully, they can put that drama behind them and work together. Since the team has opted to roll with Brown, they need to utilize him properly. Carr doesn’t come off as a guy with a big ego, so they should be able to make it work. The Broncos have a very strong pass defense, but Brown is one of the best in the world at getting open. He should at least be good for a couple of big plays on Monday night.