Raiders' Antonio Brown feels he's misunderstood, but has 'tough skin'

Raiders' Antonio Brown feels he's misunderstood, but has 'tough skin'

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Antonio Brown has been subject to intense scrutiny in recent weeks, dealing with frostbitten feet and a lost helmet grievance that has gained national attention.

His absence from Raiders training camp while rehabbing his feet in Florida with a specialist was also called into some question by reports that he was gone more for the helmet than his feet, that he went radio silent with the Raiders and that he told them team that he’d retire over the helmet issue.

Brown refuted the retirement claim outright. Head coach Jon Gruden said the Raiders knew what Brown was up to while he was away.

Brown didn’t say much publicly during his time away, save a few cryptic social media posts. His impulse wasn’t to refute claims or add to fuel to the fire raging around him. He tried to let it lie. 

The superstar receiver insists all the negative talk doesn’t impact him, but it gets to those in his inner circle.

“People always talk, and try to bring you down,” Brown said after the Raiders' 33-26 preseason win over the Cardinals. “I just think it’s tough for the people who love me, that they have to hear it when they know the type of person I am and what I stand for.

“I hate it when my mom and my dad call me and say, ‘What the f--k? Retirement? Where’d he get that?’ I never said that. That’s the hardest part for me as an athlete.”

Brown tries to put the criticism in perspective, but admits it’s not always easy.

“You have to have tough skin and not pay attention to what people say,” Brown said. “Not everybody hates me. Maybe a small percentage do, but I like to focus on the big picture. If you guys could calm it down, man, that would really help my family. (laughter) Can you guys help me out with the stuff that goes out there? I don’t mind, but my family gets really stressed out.”

Brown considers himself misrepresented, but understands he can’t fight back without causing more issues.

“Absolutely I feel misunderstood, but I’m not trying to win people over or make people feel a certain way about me,” Brown said. “I’m an athlete. I’m a human being. I have tough skin, but treat me like a human. Treat me with respect. But, through it all, I have a strong heart. Ultimately [all the talk] doesn’t matter. Only the people in this locker room and the coaches and the guys who support me and know what’s real, they’re the ones that matter. I am committed to the cause for those guys.”

Brown is also committed to young fans like the young boy he met at State Farm Stadium. Brown signed some autographs after pre-game warmups, and a little boy, maybe five or six, started crying when Brown approached him. Brown gave the boy and his brother a hug, autographs and the gloves he wore to work out.

[RELATED: Brown should practice before camp ends]

It was a centering moment that reminded him of the positive aspects of all this attention, and that not everyone views him in a negative light. Brown was moved by the exchange, which you can see here.

“It absolutely impacts me,” Brown said. “It gives me courage and inspiration, knowing that kids are looking at everything I do. Everything I do affects someone. It makes me feel good, that I’m a good leader and a good example. No matter what people write about me or say about me, there are people that really love me. To have that moment with the kid just makes my heart smile, makes my heart cry to know that, whatever I’m doing, is reaching and inspiring the youth. That’s my role. It’s bigger than me. It’s about inspiring others.”

Raiders rookie Maxx Crosby savagely trolls Aaron Rodgers after big sack


Raiders rookie Maxx Crosby savagely trolls Aaron Rodgers after big sack

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but that wasn't the case Sunday at Lambeau Field. 

With the Raiders trailing the Packers 7-3 in the first quarter and needing a stop, rookie edge rusher Maxx Crosby got into the backfield and slammed Aaron Rodgers to the turf. After sacking the Packers' star quarterback, Crosby made sure to rub it in, mocking Rodgers' title belt celebration while No. 12 lay on the ground.

Rodgers?! Rodgers?! Discount double check!

[RELATED: Report: Raiders plan to be buyers at trade deadline]

The Raiders entered the game at 3-2 and in the thick of the AFC West race. They'll need Crosby and the pass rush to continue to step up if they plan to make an honest run at the division title, though. 

NFL rumors: Raiders plan to be buyers before Oct. 29 trade deadline


NFL rumors: Raiders plan to be buyers before Oct. 29 trade deadline

The Raiders entered Week 7 with a 3-2 record, and the AFC West is wide open after Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes suffered a dislocated kneecap. So you know what that means -- it's time to buy.

With the NFL trade deadline fast approaching, the Raiders have a few roster holes that need to be patched up if they do indeed plan to make a playoff run.

While wide receiver would appear to be a major area of need, the Raiders will look to bulk up their linebacking corps and pass-rush stable at the Oct. 29 deadline, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday, citing sources.

After Vontaze Burfict's season-long suspension was upheld by the NFL, the Silver and Black suddenly find themselves quite thin at linebacker. Tahir Whitehead has been tasked with taking over as communicator, and Nicholas Morrow played well against the Bears in Burfict's absence, but the Raiders still need to acquire another capable linebacker in case they are forced into their base defense.

As for the pass rush, first-round draft pick Clelin Ferrell hasn't been the dominant force the Raiders had hoped. While Maxx Crosby and Benson Mayowa have played well, the Silver and Black need a bolstered pass rush if they plan to stay in the AFC West race.

[RELATED: Report: AB's $30 million grievance vs. Raiders hits snag]

Receiver is by far the Raiders' biggest hole, but they've already acquired Zay Jones and Trevor Davis, and unlikely want to part with a top draft pick in order to acquire a top-end talent on the outside.

The Raiders should be able to acquire a quality linebacker and pass rusher at an affordable price. If they're able to fill the holes at linebacker and pass rusher, the Silver and Black could be set up for a playoff run.