The Oakland Raiders have made a lot of news during NFL free agency — but probably the biggest was their trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers that brought wide receiver Antonio Brown to the team in exchange for third- and fifth-round draft picks in 2019.
Brown also got a new contract with the Raiders that will reportedly pay him more than $50 million over three years.
The new Raiders receiver made a lot of news during his time in Pittsburgh. Brown, 30, was an All-Pro in four of his nine seasons with the Steelers, and made the Pro Bowl seven times.
But feuds with other Steelers players — and his benching for missing practice time before Pittsburgh’s last game of the season — soured the team on Brown; the deal with the Raiders left $21 million in dead money on Pittsburgh’s books for the 2019 season.
In an Oklahoma Drill article published on NFL.com Wednesday, former Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio spoke about Brown in less-than-glowing terms.
“I love the talent, but [Antonio Brown] has clearly shown that he’s going to be a pain in the ass,” Del Rio told NFL.com’s Brooke Cersosimo. “He’s a very talented guy and I would love to have him. I would work with him no problem. If [players] have talent, you tend to tolerate it a little bit unless it becomes disruptive to your team. He’s going to have to learn that to really help the team.
“If he continues doing the things he’s been doing — just like he upset the Steelers — he’s going to upset the next team he’s on,” continued Del Rio, who was fired as Raiders coach after the 2017 season. “There are certain things — I mean, this is America and he’s free to do what he wants — but those aren’t the things that are indicative of a good teammate. The working hard and being a good player definitely helps the team, which is why he’ll continue to get chances to be special until his skills deteriorate. That’s when people will get tired of him.”
But Del Rio was also willing to concede differences of opinion.
“Every team makes their own decision and [the Raiders] have every right to do what they feel is best for the team,” he said about last season’s trade of Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. “My only point is when you have a player of that quality on and off the field — I mean, I could really lay my head down at night and sleep peacefully knowing Khalil Mack was never going to be in trouble. He’s a prince of a man. He’s a great human being, a great teammate, a really hard worker and a really, really great player. To me, you collect those guys.”