NAPA – Antonio Brown still is rehabbing frostbitten feet. The superstar receiver doesn’t have a formal timetable to return to practice, though his work with a foot specialist is done and he’s now back in Raiders training camp.
The Raiders don’t practice again until Saturday, with a preseason game at Arizona that Brown obviously will skip.
While his return to practice is uncertain, head coach Jon Gruden had no problem proclaiming he’ll be ready for Week 1 against the Denver Broncos.
“Oh yeah,” Gruden said. “Yup.”
Brown will need some time to get re-acclimated to the Raiders' offense, but it shouldn’t take much time. He’s a precise route runner, works extremely hard in practice and spent extensive time with Derek Carr this offseason building chemistry.
The offense looks and runs at a different pace with Brown involved, so the unit as a whole must find some sync. That still doesn’t guarantee Brown will see action in the preseason. He wasn’t expected to before his foot issues, which have kept him out of every practice save one. It still seems unlikely, even after all this.
“I don’t know. That remains to be seen,” Gruden said. “We’re going to try and get a couple of the starters some work in Arizona. We’re still in a process of thinking things through for the Canada trip.”
That third exhibition vs. Green Bay in Winnipeg would be the only opportunity to get Brown involved. The preseason finale at Seattle is just too close to the regular season to explore.
Brown said he feels much better, but his rehab is ongoing.
“I’m working towards 100 percent,” Brown said. “It’s a process with the feet and the time it takes. With the blisters, it’s hard to change direction, cut and run and be able to do what I do naturally. I’ve been away getting in a lot of work, and I’m excited for the opportunity to get back out there."
It seems set he’ll be out there on Sept. 9 against the Denver Broncos, when it really matters.
“We’ll work him back in,” Gruden said. “Obviously, it’s great to have him back. We’ve had a pretty good understanding, in spite of what people think, about what’s going to happen. Now we’re ready to get rolling.”