While Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown was not asked Tuesday about his severed relationship with his former quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger apologized for his treatment of him in Pittsburgh, Brown did heap praise on his new QB, Derek Carr.
Brown also shined some light on how he’s getting along with new teammate Vontaze Burfict, who once knocked Brown out of a playoff game on a hit to the head when with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“It’s tremendously important to have a relationship off the field because playing football, you get mentally tired,” Brown said after the Raiders’ Week 2 OTA practice. “You get frustrated. You always want to have that respect for a guy to know where he’s coming from, know what he stands for and know what’s important to him so you guys can be on the same page. And do what you desire to do — win.
“Camaraderie is key. Any team needs camaraderie to win, to know the guys and have their back. That’s why we’re here today, to build camaraderie, show the guys what I’m about and continue to build it.”
Then how, exactly, would Brown, acquired for a third- and fifth-round pick on March 13, describe his relationship with Carr?
“I think it’s really growing,” he said. “Making a lot of deposits so we have a lot in the bank. Extremely grateful to be out here, to put the work in action. Show these guys what I’m about, on and off the field. It’s exciting to build that correlation and see it come to fruition right here.”
In nine seasons with the Steelers, Brown teamed with Roethlisberger to go to the playoffs six times. In 10 playoff games, Brown caught 51 passes for 837 yards and four touchdowns.
Carr, meanwhile, has yet to play in the postseason, the Raiders falling to the Houston Texans in the 2016 playoffs as he was recovering from a season-ending broken right ankle suffered in Week 16.
Being a fan of “visualization,” Carr said he studies tapes of his receivers from their previous stops.
“That’s huge, and seeing how someone breaks on a route — because half the time you only get a split second when you see them break, you don’t get to see the whole picture — I’m throwing behind massive bodies and I just have to know that that’s where the ball is supposed to be,” Carr said last week.
“Watching these guys run these routes and watching how they break, you definitely take a look at it, especially with AB. The success that he and Ben had, you’d be silly not to see what they did. I’d be a fool to say, ‘Ah, no, let’s do it our way.’ No, let me see what you all did good, because we can do the same things here, you’re just wearing a different color.”
Brown and Carr famously vibed at the Pro Bowl in 2018.
“Being with DC at the Pro Bowl was really a fun experience,” Brown said. “You know, seeing his passion as a quarterback, seeing his detail and I think we had a moment like, ‘Dang that was pretty cool.’ Me running a route, him being [able] to throw and being in this position to look back from that day is God’s planning.”
And when it came to Burfict, Brown said he carried no ill will.
“Well, football is football,” Brown said. “You know, obviously, the player I am, there’s always a bull’s-eye on me. I know when I got the light under my cleats guys are going to take chances and try to hurt me. But it’s not personal, it’s just part of the game.
“It’s not like he’s hit me off the field. Then that would be a bigger problem, you know? But it’s football. You play the game long enough, you’re going to get hit hard. And you know it’s just part of the game.”