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‘Hell yeah’ Jon Gruden was encouraged by Antonio Brown suiting up last night, anticipates he will practice this week

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NFL: Preseason-Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last night in Arizona, Antonio Brown surprised a lot of people when not only did he run some routes and catch some passes from Derek Carr in pregame, but he got fully suited up to do it. No one expected him to play in the game after missing all but one series of drills in camp, but the star receiver taking the field before the game made his head coach very excited.

“Hell yeah, it was encouraging,” said Jon Gruden after the game. “It was great to have him back. You know it’s been a strange strange couple of weeks with frostbite and the helmet grievance. I can’t say that’s common, at least in my history in this league, but he weathered the storm, it’s great to see him out there with his teammates, he appears to be in great spirits, and he appears like he’s ready to get going here. That’s Antonio Brown. We’re excited about him. I’m excited about him and could [not] care less what anyone else says, I’m excited.”

While Gruden didn’t want to make any predictions on whether Brown would for sure be back when the team returns to Napa for training camp on Saturday, he said he anticipates he will practice before camp breaks on the 19th, adding that he’s “very optimistic after what I saw tonight.”

Brown himself, teased that his return is coming very soon.

“You guys will be seeing a lot of me here shortly,” Brown said.

It was pretty obvious AB was quite excited to be back with his teammates after his prolonged absence. He was congratulating them as they came off the field following and opening drive touchdown with chest pounds and pats on the back.

After giving his head coach and his quarterback reason for excitement, the Raiders gave him a lot to be excited about Thursday night in Arizona, jumping out to a 26-0 lead of the Cardinals.