ALAMEDA – Jack Del Rio has long defended punter Marquette King’s antics. The Raiders head coach prefers to let players express themselves during games, especially in celebration of a job well done.
King has done prepared dances individualized for a specific opponent following stellar punts, that has received significant attention by the national press.
Those moments are fine. Del Rio takes issue when flags are thrown. That has happened twice in as many weeks, and Del Rio spoke to King about these issues.
He was flagged for taunting after an exchange with Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill, who returned King’s punt 78 yards for a touchdown. He was penalized a week earlier for picking up an official’s flag, using it as a prop and then spiking it into the turf.
“He cannot have another penalty,” Del Rio said. “I’ve allowed him to have his freedom, and I want him to express himself. I think that’s when he’s at his best. But we can’t have routine 15-yard penalties from our punter. We have had them two weeks in a row.
“I’ve talked to him. It’s unacceptable.”
Del Rio said he hadn’t had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in his playing career, and doesn’t want them showing up in key games down the stretch.
“We don’t want to see that,” Del Rio said. “We want to play smart, tough football.”
Antonio Brown has heard all of the criticism, and he's ready to silence his doubters.
The star wide receiver had a turbulent offseason filled with cryptic social media messages and a demand to be traded away from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brown's offseason odyssey finally came to a conclusion March 9, when the Steelers traded him to the Raiders.
The 30-year old's offseason antics caused many to label him as a "me-first guy" who isn't all about the team. Critics called him a diva wide receiver who would rather be on "Dancing With the Stars" than win a Super Bowl title.
But after being introduced as a Raider on March 13, Brown quickly has gone to work. He showed up at quarterback Derek Carr's house and then went to the field to build some chemistry with his new teammate.
Brown captured his whirlwind week on video and cut them up to create a hype video that is sure to get Raiders fans fired up for the 2019 season.
The four-time All-Pro selection put together another impressive season in 2018, tallying 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns with the Steelers. The addition of Brown, as well as wide receiver Tyrell Williams, should help boost a Raiders' aerial attack that ranked 18th in passing yards per game in 2018.
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After forcing his way out of Pittsburgh and landing a new three-year, $50.125 million contract with the Raiders, Brown wants to prove he's worth every penny.
The Raiders are continuing to cast a wide net in hopes of adding a veteran linebacker to what is a thing group right now.
On Tuesday, the Raiders are hosting Vontaze Burfict, NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported. The veteran linebacker was cut by the Bengals on Monday, and has a long relationship with Oakland's defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
Guenther served as Burfict's defensive coordinator in Cincinnati for four seasons from 2014-2017.
The 28-year-old Burfict has been in the spotlight for his multiple suspensions and acts of dirty play.. He's been suspended three times in his seven-year career, and missed the first four games last season due to violating the league's PED policy.
In 2018, Burfict played in seven games and finished with 33 tackles.
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The news comes one day after the Raiders reportedly hosted linebackers Manti Te'o and Aaron Lynch. The Raiders currently have a trio of Marquel Lee, Jason Cabinda and Tahir Whitehead to trot out as their linebackers.