No matter how hard Jon Gruden tried to make it work, the Oakland Raiders had to make the call to release Antonio Brown. Just like that, the Raiders lost their best player and have to just a couple of days before their season opener against the Denver Broncos. What kind of offense ends of fielding on Monday will be very interesting to see since Brown was supposed to be the focal point. Gruden had a chance to address the situation.
“We’ve exhausted everything to try and make it work,” said Gruden at a Saturday press conference. “I am very disappointed but very proud of this organization.”
“I’m sorry we never got the chance to see him in silver and black,” continued Gruden. “I really looked forward to coaching him, but it’s gonna happen.”
He was asked if Brown being gone would be a setback for the offense and Gruden answered:
“Well, we’ve been practicing without him… We realize where we are, we’ve been practicing without him quite a bit and like I said, it’s disappointing, but we got guys that are really good players that have an outstanding opportunity.”
Gruden wasn’t very open with everything that happened but noted that it just wasn’t a good fit. He did throw a jab at Khalil Mack.
“I got to meet Antonio,” said Gruden when asked about losing his best player before the season for the second year in a row. “I never got to meet Khalil.”
Gruden did get a chance to praise his team captains for how they reacted to the whole situation.
“Our captains did everything they could to make this work.”
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One of those captains, linebacker Tahir Whitehead addressed Brown’s release, per The Athletic’s Vic Tafur.
“At the end of the day, he didn’t want to be here,” said Whitehead. “And the other guys here put the team first. We did everything we could to support him and tell him we wanted him here.”
It looks like most in the organization tried to show Brown that they wanted him to stay, but the bridges were already burned. The question is: how is Brown supposed to make it work anywhere? It’s hard to imagine a team going out of their way to support a player more than the Raiders have with Brown. He’s been tied up with controversy after controversy and the team stood behind him through all of it.
Brown’s talent will find him on another roster. However, it’s hard to imagine him sticking with a team. His ego will always come before the team and he’s proven that consistently. People have been throwing the New England Patriots around as a potential destination, but it’s doubtful that even the great Bill Belicheck can make it work with him. Time will tell if he can get his act together, but it seems really unlikely at this point.