Hours after the Raiders granted Antonio Brown’s request to be released following the team slapping him with a fine for conduct detrimental and voiding the guaranteed money in his contract, head coach Jon Gruden spoke to the media. Here is what he had to say on the release of Antonio Brown.
What happened with Antonio Brown?
“We just have exhausted everything and we’ve tried every way possible to make it work. All I’m going to say is it’s disappointing. I’m really proud of our players, our coaches, our owner, our front office. We did everything to make this work. And I’m sorry it didn’t. I apologize but I will tell you I am very proud of what we did as an organization. I wish Antonio nothing but the best and I’m sorry that we never got a chance to see him in Silver & Black. Very disappointing in my career as a coach. I really looked forward to coaching him, but it’s not going to happen. I’m not going to sit here and talk about it all day. We got 12 rookies, we got a lot to be excited about, and I wish Antonio the very best.”
Is this a setback?
“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 got guys that are really good players that have an outstanding opportunity.”
Is it a relief that he’s gone?
“You know, I’m not going to get into the emotions, I think I said the other day that this has been an emotional thing for me. I was very hopeful about what he could bring here, unfortunately it’s not going to happen. I tell you he’s a good guy. He’s misunderstood by a lot of people, but he is a good guy, he is a great player, and I hope he gets what he’s looking for and I’m going to close it with that. We got a lot to be excited about as we build out team. Unfortunately this has overshadowed a lot of great performances by young people that have put themselves in great position to start their career on Monday Night Football.”
What was the last straw?
“It was a series of things, I just don’t think it worked. He didn’t fit here. Right now he would have to answer that for himself. I’m sure he will. I wish him the best. I’m sorry to the Raider fans, but again I really want to thank our football players. Mark Davis, Mayock, and all of us, we did try to make it work and hopefully he finds what he’s looking for.”
Did the captains address team since the move?
“Our captains did a great job trying to make this work. We were united in trying to make this work. We were united in trying to make it work. Lamarcus Joyner, Derek Carr, Rodney Hudson, Vontaze Burfict. But it didn’t work out.”
This is the second straight year starting a season having just lost talent player after losing Khalil Mack last year...
“Well, I got to meet this guy, I got to meet Antonio, I never got to meet Khalil. So, at least I got to meet a great player.”
Was the move a jolt to the team?
“I don’t think it’s a shock to anybody. You’ll have to go ask them in the locker room. It might be shocking to some, but I don’t know that our players are truly shocked by what’s happened.”
How does the receiving corps look now?
“We like our receivers. I was just telling you we love Tyrell Williams. We like Waller as a tight end, we think our backs can catch it. We’re going to use all five eligible. We were never going to line up and throw the ball to one guy every play. Just not how we do business here. We got a lot of weapons, we got a lot of young guys at tight end and in our receiving corps, we’ll be fine.”