OAKLAND (CBS SF) — What’s life going to be like for the Oakland Raiders without troubled wide receiver Antonio Brown? It will be just fine if Monday night’s performance against the Denver Broncos is any indication.
Derrick Carr completed 22 of 26 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown and Darrell Waller caught 7 passes for 70 yards and Tyrell Williams added six receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown to lead the Raiders to a 24-16 home opening win.
COMPLETE COVERAGE Raiders-Antonio Brown Fiasco
After the game, head coach John Gruden was patient for a time with reporters asking about Brown’s impact on the Raiders.
“I’m never going to bring it up again,” Gruden said. “That incident, whatever you call it, had nothing to do with our team’s focus or preparation. That’s it — end of story.”
But at least one more question followed.
“As much as people talked about it, I mean, my god. I feel like somebody was smashing my temple on the side of the head,” he said. “Get over it, man. It’s over. We were good this preseason without him. We were fine without him. We wish him the best. We gave it a shot. Now New England gets their turn. Good luck to them. I can’t deal with it anymore.”
Carr also wanted to move on.
“I’m glad you asked that first because I want to address that and be done with it,” he told reporters. “”I love Antonio. He knows that, we spent time with each other. Family. All of the above. I can go on and on. He’s not here. He plays for somebody else. I wish him the best. I hope he goes off and gets everything he wants. I sent him a text. It said ‘I wish you the best, I hope you get what you want’ and there’s no hurt feelings, no anger in me.”
“We had a good football team even when we wasn’t there. We knew if we added him, my goodness that could be crazy because he’s so good as a football player,” Carr continued. “But he’s not here and when it happened, it was like okay, honestly it wasn’t the same feeling as when Khalil (Mack) got traded (to the Bears last season). I’ll just put it at that.”
While a gifted receiver, Brown was a source of constant unrest in the Raiders camp since the start of training camp. First, he showed up with feet damaged by a cryotherapy treatment mishap in France. Then he began to battle the NFL and the NFLPA over the right to wear a helmet of his choice and not one approved by the league’s safety.
Then there were fines for missing practice — a problem that expedited Brown exit from Pittsburgh after last season. Lastly, a heated public exchange with General Manager Mike Mayock.
Finally, the team had enough, cutting Brown and jettisoning his $50 million-plus contract. Brown immediately signed with defending Super Bowl champion New England.