Raiders

Antonio Brown discusses feet, helmet issue in latest 'Hard Knocks' clip

Antonio Brown discusses feet, helmet issue in latest 'Hard Knocks' clip

Antonio Brown should have his own 24/7 news channel this preseason.

The Raiders star receiver took part in a portion of one practice during training camp due to frostbitten feet that have not yet fully healed. Then, of course, there's the whole helmet issue.

Brown continues to be upset at the NFL's policy that he wear a helmet that is up to the safety standards set by the league. His preferred Schutt AiR Advantage was put on the prohibited list because it allows the brain to feel around 40 percent more force of impact than the latest improved models. The seven-time Pro-Bowl receiver missed practice Sunday, leading general manager Mike Mayock to deliver a public ultimatum that AB be "all-in or all-out."

Brown was back with the team at a meeting Monday. He filed a second grievance with the NFL on Monday to have a 12-month grace period to wear his helmet.

This is all gold for HBO as they continue to follow the Silver and Black on "Hard Knocks." Brown has spoken to the media for just a few minutes during camp, but he, of course, broke his silence for the cameras as seen in the latest clip for the third episode which airs Tuesday.

"The feet feeling a lot better," Brown told the cameras. "I got brand new skin. Got it all trimmed up. It's been a journey, man, but I feel a lot better. Working with the NFL. Getting the right equipment. I been working hard on the side. I been going, taking care of the feet. I want to give it to my teammates, so hopefully, soon get out there and get to work.

"You know, too much noise right now. More work, less noise. I feel like I was enemy of the f--king state. F--k! Getting the feet trimmed up.  I'm on every channel. Because AB is actually a good player. A really good player. And he's a handsome looking player, by the way. So that's all it is right there."

All right.

Brown could stop all the noise by getting on the field, or at least being with his teammates while the helmet issues gets sorted out, but he knows that. The attention is on him, and clearly that's the way he likes it. 

[RELATED: Top Raiders camp storylines not involving AB]

Brown looked to be running smoothly when he went through warm-ups prior to the Raiders' preseason win over the Cardinals. By his own admission and Instagram activity, the feet appear to be close to ready to go.

One issue down. One to go.

Raiders' Erik Harris explains why 'dream came true' in win vs. Chargers

Raiders' Erik Harris explains why 'dream came true' in win vs. Chargers

ALAMEDA -- Raiders safety Erik Harris intercepted Philip Rivers on Thursday night and immediately took off down the right sideline. He stiff-armed a Chargers offensive lineman and outran everyone else on his way to the end zone.

He looked into the raucous Oakland Coliseum crowd while crossing the field, searching for his family. Harris found his wife and four children and pointed right to them.

This one, Harris said without speaking, is for you.

The Harris family didn’t make it to many games last year, Erik’s first season making significant defensive contribution. His youngest son Ellis was too young to travel from their Louisiana home, but the family has made it to four thus far this season.

Thursday night was a good one to attend. Harris had two interceptions, with a third negated by penalty, including the pick-six in a 27-24 victory over the Chargers.

“Last time I had a pick-six when they were in the crowd, [his twins Isaiah and Elijah] were 2 or 3 years old [– his daughter Esme is a bit younger --] but this time the older ones knew what was going on,” Harris said. “I ran over to them and started pointing to them. They told me after they saw me doing that, which made it an emotional, heartfelt moment.”

The whole night was something out of a script. Harris persevered through difficult childhood circumstances while embarking upon an incredible football journey from a NCAA Division II college to the CFL and then the NFL, with side jobs as UPS and a potato chip factory in between, was featured on the “Thursday Night Football” pregame show.

Then Harris balls out. Then the Raiders win, and Harris gets invited up to the NFL Network set, an honor bestowed on the game’s most impactful player. He was able to bring his wife Theresa and their four kids on stage at the end to share this big moment with his family.

“I was telling my wife this morning that Thursday didn’t even feel real,” Harris said. “They shared my story, then I played well and then everybody was able to join me on the set. It was almost like it was staged. It felt like that honestly. It was pretty cool.”

[RELATED: Swearinger ready to help Raiders' secondary, win title]

Harris has had big NFL moments before, but this was something altogether different. He was able to share his backstory with a massive audience and then show on the field what can happen when you won’t quit.

“That was one of best things to come out of the whole night,” Harris said. “My goal was always to make the NFL, but on Thursday night my real dream came true. It provided a platform for my story, my testimony to be heard around the country and the world, really, and inspire people to never give up.”

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders in rare position to think playoffs, top-10 pick

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NFL Draft 2020: Raiders in rare position to think playoffs, top-10 pick

We're passed the halfway point of the NFL season, and the Raiders are in a unique position.

Yes, it's OK to start thinking about Jon Gruden leading the Silver and Black back to the playoffs. This Raiders team has been tough, gritty and resilient, fighting through a host of injuries, a five-game road trip against playoff-caliber competition, Vontaze Burfict's season-long suspension and Antonio Brown's meltdown to sit at 5-4, just on the outside of the playoff picture with a very favorable upcoming schedule.

But thanks to the much-criticized Khalil Mack trade -- which is looking better by the day (hi, Josh Jacobs) -- the Raiders also must start scouting college football's best players. The Bears, one year after going 12-4 and winning the NFC North, have been borderline abysmal as quarterback Mitchell Trubisky continues to show zero signs that he's a franchise quarterback.

With seven games left, the Bears sit at 4-5 and currently would have the No. 14 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. But because the Bears were brilliant last year, led by Mack and that vaunted defense, they were given a first-place schedule, so Trubisky and the Bears will finish the season with the Rams, Giants, Lions, Cowboys, Packers, Chiefs and Vikings.

Ouch.

The way the Bears are playing, at least four of those games are losses, and there's no telling which Chicago team will show up against the Giants or possibly the Jeff Driskel-led Lions on Thanksgiving. Even a positive view likely sees the Bears' finish at 6-10 or 5-11, and that could be enough to see them fall (or rise depending on the hat you're wearing) into the top 10 of the NFL draft.

A playoff berth and a top-10 pick in the same season? That's some kind of witchcraft only Gruden could have cooked up in his wildest nightmares.

The Raiders are just a half-game back of the Chiefs for first place in the AFC West, with a Dec. 1 meeting at Arrowhead Stadium still to come. They're just outside of the wild-card picture because of a tiebreaker loss to the Steelers based on conference record.

Still, the playoffs are a real possibility for the Silver and Black. While Gruden patches up the secondary after injuries to safety Karl Joseph and slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, general manager Mike Mayock is hard at work scouting what could be a top-10 pick from the Bears.

The 2020 NFL Draft class might not be as loaded as some in years past, but it does have just what the Raiders will be looking for: wide receivers, pass rushers and defensive backs.

So, let's pretend the Raiders hit the lottery and go to the playoffs for the second time since 2002, and the Bears plummet to finish 5-11. Here are six prospects the playoff-bound Raiders will be looking at with that top-10 pick.

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Speed. Speed. More speed.

One of Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's favorite targets, Ruggs is a burner who's projected to be the fastest player in this year's draft class. He's the perfect fit for the modern NFL. He's improved as a route runner during his time in Tuscaloosa, and would be great for a Raiders team that's thin at receiver after the AB debacle.

His teammate, Jerry Jeudy, is the top receiver in the class and likely will go in the top five, but Ruggs is no consolation prize.


CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Did I mention the Raiders have a need at receiver?

Lamb isn't as fast as Ruggs, but the 6-foot-2, 191-pound receiver has been dominant as Jalen Hurts' No. 1 target this season. He's a polished route-runner who has a knack for getting open and is almost impossible to tackle. Just ask Texas, which Lamb torched, pulling down 10 balls for 171 yards and three scores.

Lamb is a little taller than Ruggs, but either would be a great weapon to give Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.


Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson

Have you heard Gruden kind of likes guys from Clemson?

After the Silver and Black drafted three guys from Dabo Swinney's culture factory last season, don't be surprised if they go back to Death Valley should Simmons be on the board.

That's a big if, but the converted safety is just what the Raiders are looking for in a linebacker. He has the athleticism to cover tight ends but also can run sideline to sideline to track down backs. He has the versatility to play some safety if called upon to do so.

I'd expect he'll hear his name called somewhere in the No. 6-to-No. 8 range, but if he falls a bit, this would be a huge get for Mayock and Gruden.


Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

At 6-5, 318 pounds, Brown has the size that NFL teams covet in a disruptive defensive tackle. He's still raw, but he has the tools to be a dominant game wrecker.

The Raiders were interested in Quinnen Williams in last year's draft, but he went off the board at No. 3. Will they go back to the D-line well here?


Grant Delpit, S, LSU

The Raiders drafted Johnathan Abram in the first round last April, but he only made it one game before going down with a shoulder injury. Karl Joseph was having a productive season at the other safety spot before going on injured reserve after his game-sealing interception against the Chargers.

Joseph will be a free agent this offseason and would love to return to the Raiders. But if it doesn't work out, Delpit is the type of player Gruden would love to put alongside Abram in the defensive backfield.

The LSU star can line up just about anywhere and make plays. He's a versatile ballhawk who would give the Raiders one of the best safety combinations in the league.

As seen in the win over Alabama, Delpit has to improve his tackling, but it's not a big enough knock to warrant passing on him.


Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

So, you need a pass rush? Clelin Ferrell has come on of late, and Maxx Crosby has been a pleasant surprise, but the Raiders still lack the ability to consistently get after the pass rusher. They'd love to land Ohio State's Chase Young, but he'll be off the board by the No. 2 pick.

Gross-Matos is a lengthy defensive end with a massive wingspan and a big motor. He's relentless on every play, and we know Gruden loves that. He's only 21, so he has a ton of room to grow both physically and as a defensive end.

The Nittany Lion star could go inside the top 10 or fall to the late first round, so the Raiders could have a few cracks at him.

[RELATED: Where Raiders sit in NFL power rankings after Week 10]

Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

If you can't immediately fix the pass rush, you can address the coverage. The Raiders did that by drafting Trayvon Mullen in the second round in April, and the rookie has been solid since earning the starting job after Gareon Conley was traded.

Adding Fulton would give the Raiders two young, athletic cover corners on whom to build their defense. Heading to Las Vegas with the #NoFlyZone.