We’re four days into Raiders training camp. So far we’ve gotten a couple tastes of what we can expect from Antonio Brown when he returns full. That day is coming. As soon as tomorrow when the team comes back from its first off day.
“We need him to get going and he’s champing at the bit,” Gruden said of his star receiver. “He’s not a real patient guy and hopefully it’ll be sooner than later.”
Brown’s injury has not been disclosed, but based on what we saw from him in Tuesday’s practice, it doesn’t hinder him much. The team is just being careful with him.
Tuesday, Brown participated in warmups and a series of one-on-one drills before exiting — his most extensive work yet this camp. And in that short time, he lit up a couple defensive backs on long bombs.
His fellow receivers can’t wait to see him be let loose. They have visions of how great the offense can be with Brown in it and the opportunities that open up for them.
“Right now AB is pretty chill. You can tell he’s ready to unleash,” said JJ Nelson. “You can tell he’s ready to go. It’s a process. You can see he’s out here, the energy he brings with the crowd and with us as well. Knowing what he brings to the table, and how he plays and how he performs. We’re ready to match that energy. We can’t wait.”
“It’s training camp, what, day four? We got a whole lot of football to play so we just waiting.”
How much time AB has gotten has not been his decision. It’s been Gruden’s decision to ease him in to avoid the chance he could damage his elite weapon.
Gruden knows the kind of work ethic Brown has and how prepared he will be when he returns. His preparation rubs off on young receivers like 5th round rookie Hunter Renfrow who got to practice with him all through OTA’s and minicamp.
“How hard he works is just unbelievable,” said Renfrow. “He brings it every single day. And he wants to win every day. If he doesn’t win he’s going to be upset, because that’s just the chip he has on his shoulder. He was a sixth round pick, so he just wants to go out every single day to prove it. And that’s why he’s been successful. Watching those things and just the idiosyncrasies of his routes. . . I think all areas of his game are elite. That’s why he’s so good. Whether it’s on the line, the mid-routes, the deep balls, just trying to pick up as much as I can. But he never gets jammed. He always gets off press. And so that’s something that I can definitely take from him.”
Renfrow and Nelson have both had standout days in Brown’s absence. As has fellow starting receiver, Tyrell Williams. That’s good because it’s fairly clear when Brown is in the offense, he steals the show. They will appreciate that come game time because it will free them up in the offense. We’ll soon see if they can steal some of his spotlight on the practice field. That’s an exciting thought for everyone.