Antonio Brown and Raiders general manager Mike Mayock got into a heated exchange Wednesday, and the team is now planning to suspend its star wide receiver, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The confrontation, according to Schefter, stemmed from Brown’s Instagram post Wednesday in which he displayed a letter from Mayock that detailed about $54,000 in fines for missing time during training camp.
A source tells ESPN’s Josina Anderson that Brown and Mayock got into the argument during Wednesday’s practice in front of the team.
In the letter, Mayock informed Brown that he was being fined $13,950 for missing a walk-through on Aug. 22, an unexcused absence. The letter also mentions that the team previously had fined Brown $40,000 for missing camp on Aug. 18 — the day the GM issued his ultimatum to Brown, saying, “It’s time for him to be all-in or all-out, OK?”
The Raiders had yet to announce anything official regarding a potential suspension, though there was confusion in the facility, according to sources. According to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, a player can be suspended a maximum of four weeks for conduct detrimental to the team.
On Wednesday, an agitated Brown did not stretch with the team during warm-ups but then joined the receivers group for individual drills. Even then, he took plays off, which was unusual for Brown, whose hard-charging practice habits are well-known.
After catching one pass from Carr, Brown jogged toward the end zone and fired the football into the fence.
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) September 4, 2019
Brown was also overheard barking at a strength and conditioning coach before the media window closed on practice.
He declined to speak in the locker room after practice on Wednesday, saying he would talk Thursday. Raiders coach Jon Gruden is scheduled to speak at the podium after practice.
It has been an adventurous offseason for the mercurial receiver and the Raiders, who parted with third- and fifth-round picks to acquire Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers in March and gave him a three-year, $30.125 million extension. After he showed up to training camp with frostbite on the bottoms of both feet from a cryotherapy treatment mishap in France, he left camp for two weeks seeking therapy, which included laser treatment.
Brown also was upset at the NFL for not allowing him to use his 10-year-old Schutt Air Advantage helmet because it did not pass safety standards. And after returning to the team, he took off again for a day after losing a grievance over the issue. That was on Aug, 18, the day Mayock issued his ultimatum.
While many in the front office wondered whether Brown could be trusted after his second departure, he seemed to be on his best behavior of late, even as he skipped out on a mandatory walk-through the morning of the Raiders’ exhibition in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Aug. 22.
Brown and quarterback Derek Carr put on shows in pre-exhibition drills in Arizona and Winnipeg.
The letter from Mayock, which many saw as more of a warning against future behavior than an actual attempt to recoup money, seemed to set Brown off, and the team has to wonder if Brown will ever play for the Raiders.
The Raiders open their season on Monday night with a home game against the AFC West rival Denver Broncos.
The news of Brown’s impending suspension had an impact at Caesars Sportsbook. The Broncos now are a two-point favorite at Caesars; the spread had been a pick ’em before news of the suspension. The total also dropped a point to 42.5.
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