Today is Thursday, May 23, 2019. The Oakland Raiders do not play a meaningful game until September. Yet, some in the national media decided to run their collective mouths early about potential issues surrounding the team. With OTAs only two days old, big media finds a way to craft headlines and hot takes out of thin air. However, their reasons are strictly attention based. If you Google the words “Colin Cowherd Antonio Brown”, you will see a myriad of clips from his lightly-viewed TV show. If you solely focus on this week, media keeps pushing the same tired narrative.
In this clip, Cowherd goes to great lengths to admonish Browns and other players for missing the beginning of OTA.
“I got no Antonio Brown in Oakland, no OBJ in Cleveland and no Le’Veon Bell with the Jets… All 3 should be at OTAs. Show a little respect for your offensive linemen, your quarterback.” — @ColinCowherd pic.twitter.com/DhZztTYDvj
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) May 22, 2019
This response is funny for several reasons. First, by propping up Ben Roethlisberger asa beacon of virtue remains the weirdest slight ever. Granted, Antonio Brown’s social media activity can irritate some. Yet, many regard him as one of the hardest workers in the league. For example, this is what Jon Gruden said:
“Nah, he’s not here today,” Gruden told reporters after the team’s practice Tuesday in Alameda, Calif. “Hopefully, we’ll see him here in the next couple days. He’s been working extremely hard learning our offense and excited to get him out here. But in the meantime, we have plenty of balls to throw and plenty of receivers to throw too.
“I wouldn’t read much into this, but I’m sure people will.”
When Jon Gruden starts to speak, especially during his second stint in Oakland, people cast a skeptical eye, and rightfully so. Yet, his quote appears accurate. If you watch coverage of yesterday’s OTAs, the Raiders welcomed Brown into the fold. While individual plays may not make a difference in the big picture, Brown and Derek Carr connects on a couple long passes.
In reality, some media types make their money by attempting to invent stories out of mid-air. Lost in all of this: Antonio Brown quietly going to work for the Raiders. That should remain the biggest story. While boring to media, that should make the Raiders faithful thrilled.
Meanwhile, the Raiders enter Year Two in the Gruden/Carr partnership. In the clip below, the quarterback feels competitive, but comfortable in his role. The Raiders need a looser Carr to lead the offense.