Raiders

Why Antonio Brown might hate Patriots as he did Raiders after release

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AP

Why Antonio Brown might hate Patriots as he did Raiders after release

Antonio Brown famously celebrated when the Raiders released him two weeks ago, shouting he was “free” of a team he believed had wronged him by voiding $29.125 million in contract guarantees over a reported run-in with general manager Mike Mayock.

Brown was released again Friday, when the Patriots decided enough was enough, but the wide receiver was much kinder to Bill Belichick and Co. in the aftermath. He tweeted a thank-you message to Belichick, and his appreciative Instagram post to Tom Brady even drew a three-hearts response from the quarterback.

All love likely will be lost, however, if the Patriots follow the Raiders’ lead and try to void the money it once guaranteed Brown. And, as ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler pointed out, that’s quite possible.

When Brown joined the Patriots, he received a $1 million fully guaranteed salary and a $9 million signing bonus. By ESPN’s calculation, Brown was paid $158,333 in salary and roster bonuses by the Patriots, who now can argue that the personal-conduct nature of his release allows them to void the remaining $850,000 or so in guaranteed money. It’s the same argument the Raiders made when they wiped Brown’s guarantees off their books, which angered the receiver.

Now, here’s where the Patriots likely went wrong and the Raiders did not (yes, you read that correctly).

ESPN reported that Oakland, unlike New England, did not include signing-bonus money in Brown’s contract. And while the Patriots haven’t yet paid the receiver the first installment of his bonus — that’s due Monday, for $5 million — a league source told ESPN “the team's way out of it is through a representation warranty clause that says it's a breach of contract if Brown didn't disclose an existing situation that would have prevented his continued availability” — like his former trainer’s sexual-assault lawsuit against him, or the other since-revealed allegations.

If the Patriots refuse to pay Brown his signing-bonus money next week and the remaining $4 million on Jan. 15, the NFL Players Association surely will back the receiver. A source told ESPN that the union sees signing bonuses as "money earned” — no matter when payments are scheduled — and NFL contract language makes it even more complicated to void a guaranteed signing bonus.

So, if the Patriots come for that $9 million, they can expect Brown and the union to file a grievance — and to have a strong case. The NFLPA also doesn’t want to allow teams to escape lucrative signing bonuses promised to players, so it would fight hard for Brown.

[RELATED: AB's departure shows true nature of 'The Patriot Way']

The Raiders, meanwhile, are on much stronger footing, with Brown’s documented personal-conduct issues and no signing bonus in his now-voided contract. Their focus is on Sunday’s road game against the Minnesota Vikings, not a messy money fight, like what might now await the Patriots.

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Raiders legendary Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown dies at age 78

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AP

Raiders legendary Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown dies at age 78

Legendary Raiders cornerback Willie Brown has died, NBC Sports Bay Area has been told on Tuesday. He was 78 years old.

Brown’s health had declined in recent months, as he took a less active role with the team after years as a public face of the franchise. He was a mainstay in the Raiders' secondary for 12 seasons during a golden era where the Silver and Black won their first Super Bowl. He was a Raiders defensive backs coach for 10 seasons after that, and recently was an ambassador heavily involved in the community and with the team over the last two decades.

Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and is a member of the All-Time AFL team and the NFL’s team of the 1970s. He played 204 games as a member of the Broncos and Raiders, recording 52 interceptions and two touchdowns.

His pick-six in Super Bowl XI against Minnesota stands as one of several iconic moments in his illustrious career.

Brown stands among the best defensive backs to ever represent the Raiders, exclusive company considering how many excellent cover men have worn silver and black. Considering his contributions to the organization over the years, he may be one of the most prominent figures in Raiders history.

He was extremely close with owner Mark Davis and the Raiders alumni base. Brown’s passing comes but a few months after receiver Cliff Branch died unexpectedly. That’s a real blow to the entire Raiders family, which values history and tradition and player contributions as much as any team in the NFL.

The Raiders have not made a formal announcement on Brown’s passing. Please check back for updates on this story.

Raiders' Jon Gruden optimistic Trent Brown will play in Week 8 vs. Texans

Raiders' Jon Gruden optimistic Trent Brown will play in Week 8 vs. Texans

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders didn’t have Trent Brown available Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. A calf strain took care of that.

Coach Jon Gruden hopes that was a one-game absence.

He admitted looking at a glass half full, but he believes the Raiders' star right tackle has a real shot to play Sunday against the Houston Texans.

“I think this week he has a better than 50/50 chance,” Gruden said. “That’s me being optimistic, but right now I’d say it’s questionable at best.”

Gruden praised David Sharpe’s effort while playing in Brown’s spot. Sharpe allowed four total pressures and was called for holding twice on drives where the Raiders still scored touchdowns.

The Raiders brought Brown to Green Bay after formally designating him doubtful, just in case the improbable happened and he was able to go.

“I didn’t think there was really a good chance that he could play, but I thought he could be my bodyguard if he didn’t,” Gruden said. “I like Trent, I like having him around. I just like being around the guy. I like him being around our team. But there was a chance, so we had to take him.”

The Raiders didn’t bring receiver Tyrell Williams on the trip. He was ruled out Sunday with plantar fasciitis.

“He ran today, showing some progress,” Gruden said. “All I can say is we’re crossing our fingers. We really are.”

The Raiders need Williams back to help the receiver corps. Zay Jones was inactive Sunday -- he simply not ready to absorb a heavy workload in an offense he joined two weeks prior -- and getting him involved and Williams back would help the offense significantly.

[RELATED: Conley trade might not be Raiders' last]

Defensive end Arden Key also is on the mend and, like Williams, could be ready to play the Texans.

“All I can say is they’re questionable now,” Gruden said. “We’re optimistic that they’ll be ready to go for Houston.”