How will Jon Gruden handle Antonio Brown?

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The Steelers bear plenty of blame for systematically allowing a sixth-round draft pick from Central Michigan to become bigger than the team, carving out his own set of rules while the coaching staff let him do it. But Antonio Brown isn’t the first NFL player to take liberties with the rules, and he’ll hardly be the last.

Brown’s new coach has been down this road before, with a receiver who arrived in Tampa Bay in exchange for a pair of first-round picks — two years before Jon Gruden was traded to Tampa for two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8 million.

In 2003, Gruden’s second season in Tampa and Keyshawn Johnson’s fourth, it all fell apart. It got so bad that, ultimately, the Bucs paid Johnson to stay home for the final six weeks of the season.

Gruden banished Johnson because Johnson had violated team policy “countless times,” and because Johnson’s antics were affecting the team.

This is a move that we had to make today,” Gruden said at the time. “I think it benefits our football team, the future of our team, and hopefully it benefits Keyshawn also.”

The difference this time around is that Gruden will be trading for Brown instead of inheriting him. Still, Brown has vowed to play by his own rules, and the fact that he managed to talk and tweet his way out of Pittsburgh with an eight-figure raise, $30 million in fully guaranteed money, and no new years on his contract proves that Brown’s rules work. He’ll arrive in Oakland as a conquering hero, and Gruden will now have to worry about whether the Raiders eventually will become Brown’s next conquest.

Gruden has praised Brown’s work ethic, but with that work ethic comes periodic lapses in attendance and/or punctuality. Typically, Brown flashes that electric smile and all is well. Whether that ear-to-ear smile will work on a guy better known for his scowl remains to be seen.

Regardless, Brown has become one of the most powerful players in the league, literally overnight. He’ll be bringing that power to the Black Hole in Oakland, and Gruden will be at the mercy of whether Brown ever chooses to use that power against his new coach, his new quarterback, or anyone else who gets in Brown’s way.

100 responses to “How will Jon Gruden handle Antonio Brown?

  1. He won’t, not well, once the honeymoon is over. Clash of Egos. Keep winning and it will keep masking it – like it did for the Steelers – but a run of losses and Gruden publicly throwing guys under the bus after a loss “we need Brown to get open more…” and it’ll end up like the Steelers.

  2. Maybe we should stop pretending that everyone plays by the same rules. They have me on tape (video no less ) getting the manager’s special.Bet you
    I beat the case.

    Regards,

    Robert in New England

  3. On the plus side for Raider fans, one would think that Brown would be on his best behavior in his first year with the team. It would be the final and ultimate slap in the Steeler’s face for him to be a model citizen in Oakland.

    So for the first year, at least I expect the Raiders to be a big winner in this deal. They’ll get their 1000 yd season from AB, but it isn’t going to be enough to get him back to the playoffs.

  4. Mr. Big Chest has already said that everyone has to play by his rules. Wait until he realizes that he went from a future Hall of Famer to a bust as far as the QB throwing to him.

  5. The Steelers bear plenty of blame for systematically allowing a sixth-round draft pick from Central Michigan to become bigger than the team, carving out his own set of rules while the coaching staff let him do it.

    So if he was a first round pick from Ohio State, would it have been okay?

  6. Gruden know Brown seriously do you think he would trade for him if he didn’t know him.

  7. I know a lot in Raiderland think it’s great AB’s coming to town, but does anyone really think he’s going to change? Just because the Raiders were willing to part with 30 million guaranteed, and only picks 3 and 5, doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. Apparently, no other team was willing to risk the guaranteed contract. What’s to stop him from doing the exact same thing to the Raiders? Only time will tell if the risk will be rewarded.

  8. A veteran Pittsburgh squad with SB experience could not help Brown be a good teammate.
    Oakland is a team of rookies and unproven players. The sad part is how many young lives Brown will destroy.

  9. I think that Gruden and Antonio Brown will get along provided that Brown is willing to publicly praise the “coaching genius” and say what a privilege it is to play for him. His play on the field is secondary to this.

    This is the main criterion for maintaining a roster spot as a “Gruden Griender”.

  10. AB has won. Anything else you hear is just trying to save face. Expect this to be the new normal in the NFL going forward.

  11. AB will eventually get frustrated with losing, but that’s the choice for most players like him: top dollar on crud team or medium dollar on good team. Few players get both.

  12. Cooper > brown. Not just talent either, Coop was a pro bowler this year by the way, but talking Whole package, age, ego, personality, Team Player, locker room teammate etc. Coop over brown. P E R I O D !

  13. Trippin’ Tomlin allowed AB to do whatever the heck he wanted. Now the Raiders just handed this quitter $30M guaranteed. AB will do whatever he wants, so enjoy the nightmare!

  14. Hopefully the Raiders got some items in the contract, related to this. And there was a clear discussion on expectations of behavior. Gotta believe mayock is smart enough to make sure it’s cut bait easy if he acts a fool.

  15. Knock Tomlin if you want but he managed this egomaniac for 9 years while keeping him happy and productive for 8.5 of them. AB is now emboldened now, thinking he beat the system and is untouchable. Just wait until he’s not getting his stats in that middling offense, with an average QB and poor offensive line. Gruden is not going to be able to keep Brown happy and if Brown isn’t happy, there’s no lengths he won’t go to now to make sure everyone knows it. This is going to be a circus that the NFL hasn’t seen.

  16. Didn’t this author make up the idea Carr wouldn’t be able to take Grudens hard coaching style? This guy is hardly ever right

  17. Risk vs. Reward. No way is Brown worth what they gave him…validating all of his words and actions in the process.

  18. It’s not easy on the GM. Do you bench the guy and get no compensation at all, but try to set a long term message that may or may not stick? Or do you trade him and get something?

  19. Bills fan here, I was glad that the Bills didn’t trade for AB as things sit. but would have made it worse would have been to make him the highest paid WR in the league with almost all of it guaranteed. If the Bills had done that I would seriously be thinking what are they doing. With that said What is Oakland / Las Vegas doing.

  20. The idea that you can go from an ordinary team to a championship worthy one by adding a blue chip wide-receiver (never mind a mentally screwed-up diva) is ludicrous.
    Look at the list of SB winners of the last decades and you will find guys like Edelman, Tate, Baldwin, Santonio Holmes etc. No Julio Jones, no Terrel Owens, no Larry Fitzgerald, no Dez Bryant, no Randy Moss and no Mr. Big Chest.
    I think that the last one to do it was Jerry Rice.
    Not that it’s bad to have one on your team, but they never turn out to be the difference-makers in championship games.

  21. calizcowboyz says:
    March 10, 2019 at 5:57 pm
    Cooper > brown. Not just talent either, Coop was a pro bowler this year by the way, but talking Whole package, age, ego, personality, Team Player, locker room teammate etc. Coop over brown. P E R I O D !

    ————–

    I don’t know about >.

    I would say that they’re comparable. Both put up similar numbers in their first four seasons except that Cooper did it with Carr, who was in his first four seasons in the league. Carr’s not bad but he’s also not what Roeth has been.

    Brown did it with Big Ben playing in his peak prime and at his best.

    Should definitely be interesting. Things had better start coming together for Gruden this year or there are going to be a lot of harsh opinions on him.

    Also, as I see it a good coach can get the most from any player. The moment I hear people talking about a coach getting “his guys” I have to wonder. Players are players. A good skill-position player is a good skill position player. The best do well under any circumstances.

    Just my two-cents.

  22. Raiders time is next year, all of these moves are pointing toward next year and beyond. AB may be a distraction this year but who cares, Gruden needs him to grow into his true role and he has about 20 months to do it. Otherwise, he’ll be cut.

  23. 1. Gruden wll demand more from AB than Tomlin ever did.
    2. Gruden will have no problem fining or suspending AB.
    3. The Raiders have made it abundantly clear they revolve around Gruden, he is the face of the franchise, not any one player.

  24. Brown just said whatever he had to say to get out of Pittsburgh, and he pretty much hand picked Gruden and the Raiders. Gruden barely gave up anything to get the best WR in the game. Brown sniffed Buffalo and said “where do I sign up for Vegas”? Gruden respects hard workers, and Brown is just that. Brown was born for Gruden’s offense. Brown will be a great leader for the youngsters, and he’ll be the most well behaved guy on the team. This is huge for the Raiders and they still have 4 picks in the top 35. Gruden is turning the Raiders around, and AB is going to be a big part of it. Everyone will be happy.

  25. This move has everything to do with selling tickets for the last year(s) in Oakland. Anything to appease the Black Hole fan base in Oakland for another year or two…

  26. patfanken says:
    March 10, 2019 at 5:41 pm
    On the plus side for Raider fans, one would think that Brown would be on his best behavior in his first year with the team.

    ***************************************************************************

    One would think. His off-the-field behavior’s become increasing erratic in general over the past couple years, though, so wouldn’t bet money on it just changing overnight.

    Also, assuming you’re a Raider fan, get ready for an onslaught of stories about AB tweets. Who wants to read articles about actual football-related news when you can read about some guy’s Twitter activity. Insane.

  27. I don’t think Gruden will let him slide like the spineless Tomlin did. You can bet they will go after his money if he starts acting up. I seriously don’t believe Gruden will put up with it in any way, shape or form. They didn’t give up much for him so it’d be really easy to just make him inactive like he did with Keyshawn. I can’t wait until AB thinks he can get by with some of his antics that Tomlin did and Gruden turns full-blown Chucky on him.

  28. Brown is so powerful that he went from a team that has won 53 games over the past five seasons to a team that has won 32 over that same span. Got it. At least the Bucs won a Super Bowl with Keyshawn.

  29. steelpenguin6687 says:
    March 10, 2019 at 5:54 pm
    I know a lot in Raiderland think it’s great AB’s coming to town, but does anyone really think he’s going to change? Just because the Raiders were willing to part with 30 million guaranteed, and only picks 3 and 5, doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. Apparently, no other team was willing to risk the guaranteed contract. What’s to stop him from doing the exact same thing to the Raiders? Only time will tell if the risk will be rewarded.

    ————————
    Except with only 1 buyer this time for his services, what other team which passed this time, would say “This time for sure!!!!”

  30. He got paid guaranteed money in Pittsburgh and a long term deal…he didn’t like it once the guaranteed years were gone…(I am not a contract expert but I think that is what happened, correct me if wrong) So…Oakland/Vegas….No problem til the guaranteed money years are gone…then a holdout for new deal with more guaranteed money.

  31. That sounds the same to you? Gruden inheriting a player that the team he works for spent a lot in draft picks vs a player he wants and didn’t spend much in the draft for. In addition, the latter team he is head of football operations because the owner wants him. Sounds completely different to me.

  32. This deal is huge for Oakland…definitely gonna get them over the hump! And by hump, I mean going from 4th to 3rd in the AFC West.

  33. I hope AB does well with the Raiders. The Steelers did the honorable thing and got AB in a situation where he can excel and where he got a pay raise! Gruden has dealt with characters before. GO STEELERS!

  34. I predict the Raiders will still be terrible, and the Steelers will score about the same number of points as last year.

    In other words, this whole AB saga doesn’t really mean squat.

  35. None of this matters to Big Ben Roethlisberger who will continue to do what he does with whoever’s running routes. What the Steelers really need to do to contend for a championship is continue finding defensive talent/playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. Thats been the real problem, not AB leaving.

  36. And so sports provides another great role model for youth. Sign a contract to do something and then decide your ego hasn’t been sufficiently stroked? Just throw a big enough tantrum and not only will you not have to do anything you signed a contract to do, but someone will pay you a ton of money to not do it!

    Almost makes you want to wonder, why does the public enable this kind of stuff with our much-harder-earned money?

  37. Brown has a great personal work ethic. He’ll report in fantastic shape. Unfortunately, he has no real team ethic. He doesn’t follow team rules, throws tantrums when he doesn’t get the ball, betrays the privacy of the locker room to promote himself, throws tantrums when other players receive accolades, draws team penalties for his me-me-me celebrations. It’s Antonio’s world and everyone else is living in it. I’ve never been in favor of giving Ben a radio show because he’s too prone to sticking his foot in his mouth. But his one comment about Brown’s route-running isn’t to blame for Brown’s behavior. With Antonio, it was always something. Gruden may be tougher on him than Tomlin was. Will be interesting to see if that actually works. The one time Tomlin did get tough, Brown demanded a trade.

  38. He wont, the team will be the team will be 4-12 next year and 5-11 after that. Then Gruden will tuck tail back to the booth

  39. About as well as Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson. Jerry Glanville and Brett Favre. Or how about Al Davis and Marcus Allen. Yeah, that’s the one. Like that…..

  40. He can change uniforms every week to be on whatever team , still going to be Mr Big Chest! He will be disgruntled come December when he doesn’t have enough targets or the Raiders are not play off bound. Coach Gruden has just developed a chronic itch that never goes away!

  41. The Raiders will see a different AB for sure. The one showing up to Raiders camp will have spent a few months reading about how powerful he is now, and how he did whatever he wanted and won. He better be getting his passes from Carr, or expect a live social media rant dividing the team. Raider fans will see a monster of a diva now- I expect AB to get worse, not better.

  42. Jon Gruden did NOTHING except pour rocket fuel onto a smoldering dumpster fire!
    This will not end well – Gruden will be lucky if he gets 2 seasons out of Brown before those two egomaniacs have a meltdown.
    It’s very much like Al Davis of old taking on a head-case like Brown to keep the talking heads chattering about the LA/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders – Great job Mark your Dad is proud!

  43. It’s not a matter of the Raiders letting AB do what he wants or if AB will do what he wants anyways. It’s a matter of AB doing things that are detrimental to himself,his teammates and the organization. That’s who he has become now. People like to compare him to T.O. Well, how many Superbowl winning teams have either been a part of?

  44. Raiders seem to be a team all over the place. They traded Mack and Cooper for future draft picks and then trade for a 31 year old WR. Do they have a plan? Is it 2019-20? It really is hard to tell. Trading for Brown makes sense for a team who needed to get over the hump in my opinion.

  45. Credit to Mike Mayok for using the cap money to get a top player for low draft comp to the self boxed in Steelers. Brown gets respect, enjoys a new set of teammates and continues to play at a high levelis is the most likely outcome. Raiders draft well and they have a decent year and improve the base for the following year. Gruden lucked out.

    Steelers need to get their head out of the sand and look at all levels of management and at their business approach and how their management works or doesn’t work together. Change or decline should be clear.

  46. Let’s be honest…..if AB, Ben and Bell could not find a way to get past the Patriots to bring home a championship what can AB really expect from Derek Carr and the Raiders?

  47. How long will in take Antonio Brown to behave like a diva, and Gruden can’t handle him?
    The Raiders were horrible last year, lets see the improvement.

  48. Raiders traded away some of it’s best players which created locker room dissent. Now they trade for a guy that by many accounts was petulent and then paid him a tremendous amount of guaranteed money, when they wouldn’t pay their best player (Mack). Oh and should Carr get traded or injured, good luck with A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman!!

  49. Remember a few years ago. Sanders signs with Broncos. Wallace signs with Miami. Brown signs with Steelers.

    Catching balls from Peyton, Sanders had good results. Less so since then. Wallace disappeared in Miami with Tannehil at QB, and never really found another good situation.

    Brown put up Hall of Fame numbers with Ben.

    All Carr has to do is get fifteen catchable balls to Antonio per game and all will be fine. If not, Gruden will have fond memories of the good old days with Keyshawn lol

  50. Not sure why Gruden wanted to take on another disgruntled Steeler player but ok… not IF but WHEN Brown acts up because things aren’t going his way Gruden again will have egg on his face. Gruden should have passed on this diva and his drama but it will be entertaining to see how this move plays out for them both and Raider Nation

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