Raiders

Raiders

ALAMEDA -- When Antonio Brown first became a Raider, he promised to bring accountability to the wide receiving corps. 

While the star receiver's offseason workouts with quarterback Derek Carr have been well-documented on social media, Brown was not present Tuesday during the first day of the Raiders' organized team activities program. 

Having a player like Brown be a no-show for the first day of OTAs would concern some coaches, but Raiders head coach Jon Gruden didn't seem bothered by Brown's absence. 

"Nah, he's not here today," Gruden said after practice Tuesday. "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."

Brown's tumultuous exit from the Pittsburgh Steelers was well-chronicled. His relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger deteriorated over time, something Roethlisberger apologized for Monday. An apology Brown appeared to respond to with a cryptic tweet

The four-time All-Pro selection has appeared to be making an effort to build a strong relationship with his new quarterback Derek Carr, although it was put on pause Tuesday due to Brown's absence. 

Gruden wasn't interested in playing quarterback-receiver matchmaker Tuesday.

 

"I'm not going to get into the relationship business," Gruden said. "You know, I think Brown is a great guy. I love having him here. Derek's a great guy. You can't rush a relationship. You just don't have a great relationship in three weeks or two months. It's something that you got to really earn and really work at and that's why it's important that we spend time together. I'm a little worn out with all the relationships and all the things that really don't matter right now."

While Brown was not present Tuesday in Alameda, the rest of the Raiders' new offensive weapons were. 

Carr connected on a deep pass with free-agent signing Tyrell Williams, and rookie Hunter Renfrow made a couple of nice snags during the day. 

"I mean a lot of football today is run-pass option where you stretch the team laterally," Gruden said. "Bubble screens, fly sweeps, but you also have to stretch them vertically. And if you can stretch the field vertically and horizontally you become a much more difficult offense to defend and that's a goal that we have had as we put together our team."

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Brown will be a big part of that plan heading into 2019, and although the workouts are voluntary, it should be a little disconcerting that Brown was not present to work with his new offense.

It might not worry Gruden now, but it's an inauspicious start to Brown's Raiders career.