Raiders

Antonio Brown videographer disputes timeline of star's Raiders release

Antonio Brown videographer disputes timeline of star's Raiders release

Antonio Brown's Friday-night YouTube video featuring a phone call with Jon Gruden was supposed to be about the Raiders' season opener. 

Alejandro Narciso, a Miami-based filmmaker, shot, produced and edited the video. He told ESPN's "The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz" on Monday that he met up with Brown in Oakland last Tuesday to shoot a hype video ahead of the Raiders kicking off the 2019 season against the Denver Broncos at the Oakland Coliseum.

It's safe to say things took a turn last Wednesday. 

"[At first] everything's good, and then goes to practice and then, you know, everything's bad," Narciso told Le Batard and Stugotz. "At that point, I'm confused and I'm like, 'What did I get myself in to?'"

Wednesday, of course, is when tension between Brown and the Raiders -- now his former team after he was released Saturday and subsequently signed by the Patriots -- began to escalate. Brown was none too pleased about the Raiders fining him for missing a practice and a walk-through, sharing his displeasure in an Instagram story and reportedly confronting general manager Mike Mayock at practice that day. 

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Brown threatened to punch Mayock in the face and telling the first-year GM to "fine him" for punting a football. ESPN's Josina Anderson reported, citing a Raiders source, that Brown called Mayock a "cracker" before profusely swearing at him.

Brown told ESPN's Dianna Russini last week that he didn't use the word, and Narciso said the same Monday, claiming that the confrontation wasn't as tense as reported. 

"Everyone just walked off, and then he went into meetings," Narciso claimed. "Nothing crazy happened."

Narciso said Brown went to the Raiders facility for an MRI, and the team told him not to come to practice that day. Brown eventually met with Gruden for dinner, telling Narciso afterward that everything was good between him and the Raiders. But when Narciso told Brown on Friday morning that a hype video was ready featuring the footage they shot, the four-time All-Pro receiver said to wait on posting the video. 

When Narciso met with Brown after practice Friday, he said Brown's tone had changed. 

"And then we pick him up, and he's like, 'Yeah, everything's not good.'" Narciso recalled to Le Batard and Stugotz. "'These guys don't seem to have my back. They kept saying welcome back even though I never left.'"

When the Raiders fined Brown again Friday night and voided the $29.125 million in guarantees in his contract, Narciso said the Silver and Black's relationship with the receiver became "irreparable." 

Brown then posted the video in this context, but not before telling Narciso to edit it because it was "too positive" and reaching out to Gruden to ask for permission to use audio from a Friday night phone call. At some point before the video dropped, Narciso said Brown called Raiders owner Al Davis to formally ask for his release. 

"He called the owner, it was a nice conversation," Narciso said of Brown. "He said, 'Look man, I just don't think this is gonna work out for either of us. I don't feel the love from you guys the way that you think you say you do, and I would appreciate it if you released me.' And the owner was like, 'OK, you know, I'm gonna do everything in my power. I'm sorry this didn't work out.' And then at that point, AB was like, 'It's go time.'"

[RELATED: Five questions Raiders still must answer entering Week 1]

The video posted Friday, and Brown asked the Raiders to release him the next morning in an Instagram post. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Sunday that Brown worked with "social-media consultants" to "accelerate his release from the Raiders." 

If Brown has any consultants, Narciso joked that he is not one of them.

"I was like, 'Social-media experts? I'm literally, like, a 25-year-old nothing," Narciso quipped. "No, AB posts what he wants. I'm not his consultant. I'm not like, 'AB, I got this guy off this team. You wanna hire me so I can get you off this team?' No!"

NFL rumors: Donald Trump says season should start on time despite coronavirus

NFL rumors: Donald Trump says season should start on time despite coronavirus

President Donald Trump held a call with the commissioners of major American sports leagues Saturday, and offered a prediction for the upcoming NFL season.

Trump told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the other members on the call that the NFL season should start on time despite the coronavirus outbreak, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Adam Schefter reported. Trump reportedly told the commissioners that he expects arenas and stadiums to be filled come August and September, according to Wojnarowski and Schefter.

However, it's currently unclear if public health officials agree with Trump's prediction. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as a lead member of the White House's coronavirus taskforce, told Warriors star Steph Curry that sports only can return once the country as a whole has turned the corner with the outbreak and the medical system no longer is under strain. Then it will be easier to identify cases, and the cities won't be overwhelmed.

It is unknown when sports will return and how it will look when they do.

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While Trump's optimism might lift some spirits, it will be up to public health officials to determine when it is safe for sports to begin and be held with fans in attendance. With many epidemiologists expecting the virus to surge in the fall, the NFL's season could be in jeopardy.

While all major sports currently are on pause, the NFL is planning to start the season on schedule and hold games as normal with fans in attendance.

The NBA suspended its season indefinitely after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11. The NHL, MLB, PGA Tour and MLS all followed suit, with the NCAA choosing to cancel the men's and women's tournaments altogether.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly said on the call that his league would love to "lead the way" in jumpstarting the economy but they only can do so once they are told by public health officials that it is safe.

[RELATED: Raiders reportedly eyeing DT at No. 19 in draft]

Trump reportedly also brought up the idea of the leagues lobbying for a tax credit that used to exist for fans. This credit would allow fans to deduct concessions and ticket prices from their taxes, according to Schefter and Wojnarowski.

The call included commissioners and top executives from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, WNBA, WWE, PGA Tour, LPGA, UFC, IndyCar and Breeders' Cup, according to a White House pool report.

As of Saturday, there were more than 270,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States and more than 7,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and NBC News reporting.

NFL draft rumors: Raiders expected to take defensive tackle in Round 1

NFL draft rumors: Raiders expected to take defensive tackle in Round 1

The Raiders stocked up in free agency, spending big to fix a defense that was leaky at best in 2019.

Coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock now must turn their attention to hitting another home run in the NFL draft. With the No. 12 and No. 19 overall picks, most expect the Raiders, who have glaring needs at wide receiver and cornerback, to address those holes in some manner with their first two picks. That might not be where Gruden and Mayock are planning to go, though.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller reported Friday, citing league sources, that most around the league expect the Silver and Black to draft a top wide receiver with the No. 12 pick, but use their second pick on a "middle-of-the-field" defender since the Raiders would like to make an upgrade at defensive tackle.

The middle of the field was a massive problem for the Raiders' defense in 2019. But they went out and added defensive tackle Maliek Collins and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski to lead the unit. They also lucked into signing safety Damarious Randall, upgrading the middle of the field at all three levels.

However, the Raiders do still need some help in the middle of their defensive line. Collins is young and thrives beating double teams, but he only signed a one-year deal. Maurice Hurst had a nice 2019 but he still needs to improve and Johnathan Hankins, while great against the run, doesn't move the needle rushing the passer.

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If the Raiders do want to draft a defensive tackle -- it might not be the best use of a first-round pick -- there are a few elite talents they could look at.

Derrick Brown leads this year's defensive tackle class. The 6-foot-5, 318-pound Auburn product might be the most complete defensive tackle to enter the draft since Aaron Donald. He has powerful hands, an unreal motor and can play in odd and even fronts. He's a Day 1 plug-and-play starter with All-Pro potential. Brown is expected to be a top-10 pick so the likelihood of him donning and Silver and Black is low.

Second on the list is South Carolina's Javon Kinlaw. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Gamecock is an elite pass-rusher with all the tools and the strength of a bull. He has a great first step and unreal explosiveness. Kinlaw might be a shade below Brown but he appears to have Pro Bowler written all over him. He could be available for the Raiders at No. 12, but it's doubtful he slips to No. 19.

The next two players are end of Day 1-beginning of Day 2 guys, which means the Raiders must be sure they can contribute right away to take them at No. 19 or must trade down to make the pick lineup with the talent.

Next up is TCU's Ross Blacklock, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound load who has all the goods to be a star at the NFL level. Blacklock has the size, length, power and athleticism to be a dynamic playmaker at the NFL level. While some evaluators believe it might take him some time to adjust to the NFL game, he has all the tools you want in a three-down interior defensive lineman.

The last high-end interior defensive lineman is Oklahoma's Neville Gallimore. The rare defensive tackle that is defined by his speed, the 6-foot-2, 302-pound Gallimore has all the looks of a Day 1 NFL starter who can collapse the pocket and put the quarterback on his heels. His quickness, motor and power are traits that leap off the tape.

[RELATED: McKinney headlines top DB prospects for Raiders to target]

Now a middle-of-the-field defender could mean a safety like Alabama's Xavier McKinney, which would mean the Raiders would shift Randall to corner where they have a huge hole after Eli Apple's contract couldn't get finalized.

If Kinlaw or Brown falls to the Raiders, Gruden and Mayock should snap them up. Both would be a powerful inside presence who could open up rushing lanes for Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby.

But if both are off the board and corner like Florida's C.J. Henderson or even LSU's Kristian Fulton still are available, it might be wise to address to cornerback need first and see if a defensive tackle like Davon Hamilton,  Raekwon Davis or Justin Madubuike falls to them in the third round.