The road from Pittsburgh to Oakland was rocky for Antonio Brown. It certainly was not pretty, but the Pro-Bowler finally got out of what he felt was a toxic situation.
Now, as a member of the Oakland Raiders, Brown has been happy with his first offseason with the team. Although it may not be a breeze, this offseason appears to be a welcome change of pace.
According to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press, head coach Jon Gruden has been challenging Brown during offseason workouts:
“He challenged me from the meeting room to the field,” Brown said Tuesday of Gruden. “Lining me up at all kind of positions, hurrying up the offense’s tempo to see if I’m able to mentally pick up what I’m doing, where I’m lining up really fast. So, it’s never a dull day with coach. Always challenging, always high energy and always detailed and fundamental in regards to our assignment.”
Gruden has always admired Brown’s work ethic. When that work ethic has been challenged, Brown has stepped up and proven that he is the real deal.
According to Dubow, Brown has also held his teammates to a similar work ethic. The star receiver has instituted a dropped pass fine for all of his fellow receivers.
This seems like a bold move for a new receiver amongst a crop of new receivers, but Brown has definitely established himself as the leader he needs to be. He also has reportedly been holding himself accountable to the same standard he sets for others.
Brown sees this offseason as a chance to prove that he still has what it takes. The on-field skill has never been an issue, but the newest Raider receiver still thinks that this new year will be a challenge for him.
One change that has already positively affected the former All-Pro is his relationship with his new quarterback. Brown stated that Derek Carr has taken time to be with Brown and the two, along with other teammates, even visited local parks to toss the ball around.
According to Brown, small things like that can help establish respect amongst players. He also cited that good relationships on the team can help ease the mental fatigue from the season.