Wide receiver Antonio Brown approached Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock while he was watching practice to initiate the exchange that led to the men being physically separated on Wednesday, ESPN and NFL Network reported Friday.
According to ESPN, Brown was flanked by the team’s captains on Friday morning when he opened a team meeting with an “emotional apology.”
The Raiders have not made an official statement on his status for Monday’s regular-season opener, but multiple outlets reported Thursday that Brown would be disciplined. NFL Network reported Friday that the sense in Oakland was that Brown might actually be in the lineup.
Brown had been expected to be suspended by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team and miss at least the Week 1 game, with $30 million in guaranteed money also on the line should the Raiders opt to take a hard-line position in the matter. Indications from NFL Network’s were the Raiders were leaning toward letting up after Brown’s apology.
There has been plenty of drama around Brown since he was acquired from the Steelers and signed to a contract extension.
Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Brown confronted Mayock on Wednesday over being fined almost $54,000 and called Mayock a “cracker” and addressed him with a number of “cuss words” during the altercation. Anderson reported Mayock began to walk away because he felt the situation would escalate.
Head coach Jon Gruden did not take a side in the matter Thursday and appears truly conflicted despite a pattern of behavior from Brown that would seem to indicate a lack of dedication to the Raiders. Gruden did say an official announcement would come “later.”
“Like I said, I’m not going to get into all of this,” Gruden said. “Obviously, (Brown) wasn’t here today, and when we have some information for you, we’ll give it to you. ... I’ve been talking about the same guy every day.
“... I’m emotional about it, I hope you understand why. I think a lot of this guy. I think Antonio is a great receiver, and deep down I think he’s a really good guy. So, I’m frustrated, I’m not going to say anything more about it, hope it all works out. But I don’t have anything official to say about anything else until I get all the facts, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Brown is still hoping to play Monday night when Oakland begins the regular season at the Coliseum in a division game against the Denver Broncos.
“Right now I think his relationship with Coach Gruden is good, very good,” Rosenhaus said Friday. “I’m not going to get into his relationship with Mike Mayock, but I will say that we’re hopeful that will be a good one, as well. It has been in the past; it can be in the future.”
Brown also missed time due to a frostbite-like condition on his feet, an incident Gruden said wasn’t Brown’s fault but stemmed from improper protection on his feet during cryotherapy.
Then he sat out during a dispute with the NFL over his helmet, returning only after losing two grievances.
—Field Level Media