The Oakland Raiders probably regret their investment into Antonio Brown already, given that the team is planning to suspend the star wide receiver before the season even begins after he got into some kind of incident/altercation/heated argument with GM Mike Mayock, according to a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Per Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Brown had to be "held back by a couple of teammates" when confronting Mayock. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the incident did not get physical, however Brown did say he would punch Mayock -- his boss! -- in the face and then punted a ball, Nick Nolte "Blue Chips" style and told Mayock to fine him for that. You can't even make this stuff up.
In all seriousness, it's hard to see a path where he returns to the Raiders any time soon.
"If you want to ask about the Raiders, I've been talking about the same guy every day," Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said to reporters two minutes into his press conference on Thursday. "I don't have much to give other than he's not here today ... We're still getting to the bottom of everything. I'm on the football field coaching the guys that are here and we got a lot of guys working hard."
and the team included in the letter to Brown that he was running up against a situation where he could behave in a manner that would qualify as "conduct detrimental to the team."
As I noted on Twitter at the time (and was in the process of writing when this news broke, naturally), the language in that letter could absolutely be a set up to suspend Brown for up to four games and to void the guarantees in his contract.
Bryant McFadden and Ryan Wilson joined me on an emergency podcast to break down the Antonio Brown news. You can listen below:
Read it: Mayock is telling Brown that future behavior could create a situation in which the Raiders use language in their team policy and in the collective bargaining agreement to take action against Brown.
The CBA specifically allows the Raiders to suspend him for four games and to fine him four game checks as a result of conduct detrimental to the team.
Mayock didn't really elaborate on the situation, other than to say Brown will not be practicing Thursday.
Suffice to say that Brown has met the minimum threshold for any such suspension. Take away the fact he froze his feet so badly in a cryotherapy chamber that his start to the season was in jeopardy -- he has skipped multiple practices, reportedly gone AWOL from the Raiders, created a huge distraction with multiple grievances about his helmet and most recently posted a fine letter from his GM on social media.
He then decided to get in an argument WITH HIS GM over said fine letter and the posting on social media. It's a perfect storm of disaster and it makes guys like Terrell Owens look calm by comparison.
The other thing that could happen, that the Raiders like here? They can void the guarantees in his contract by suspending him for conduct detrimental,. That would mean a loss of up to $29 million in guarantees and the Raiders potentially going after his signing bonus.
More importantly? It would set up the Raiders to potentially release Brown and not take the salary cap hit.
Oakland's first game is the late Monday night game against the Broncos. The game was a pick 'em but the Broncos are already -2 now based on the A.B. news.
It has been afrom Pittsburgh to Oakland over the last several months and we broke it all down earlier this offseason. Stay tuned for more details -- this is a developing story.