Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock traded for Antonio Brown in March knowing he would provide an elite level of production, and a work ethic that would inspire and help the Oakland Raiders elevate their game.
In the two months, he's been a member of the Silver and Black, the head coach/general manager duo was spot on in their evaluation of what Brown would bring to the table
If you follow "Mr. Big Chest" on social media, you'd know the man is relentless in the weight room. Brown is consistently honing his craft, working on speed drills, adding muscle, and staying lean. The former sixth-round pick – and Gruden and Mayock as well for that matter – is hoping that his approach and preparation become contagious.
"I think it's contagious for the young guys to see the level of passion, level of finishing regarding what I bring to the field," Brown said to reporters Tuesday. "We have to continue to inspire each other while we're out here on the field."
He added, "It's the beginning of Phase One of OTAs, still a long way to go. I bring a knack for finishing, a knack for competing, challenging guys. You can ask my teammates about that, I'm just here to put it on display."
The Raiders are a long way from regular season competition in September, but the groundwork is being laid daily during OTAs, and Brown has big plans for the Silver and Black. For Brown and the Raiders to succeed in 2019, the dynamic wide out needs to develop a strong rapport with his new signal-caller, Derek Carr.
Just days after being traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown showed up on Carr's doorstep, eager to start training together. The duo found a park close to Carr's home and started running routes to get their timing down. Now only a few days into the first week of OTAs, Carr, and Brown seem to be enjoying the early fruits of their labor.
"It's extremely important to have a relationship off the field because playing football, you get mental tired, you get frustrated," Brown explained. "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 and desire to win."
Carr has gone on record multiple times stressing how desperately he wants to win and at any cost. Brown is a proven winner, and prior to the 2018 season made four-consecutive playoff appearances, which is something the Raiders have struggled to do for quite some time, but the objective is to change that - and fast.
The relationship between Carr and AB will undoubtedly play an important role in the team's success this season; however, good teams are made up of more than just two players and establishing a sound foundation between teammates will be necessary to achieve the ultimate goal.
"The camaraderie is key," Brown said. "Any team you need camaraderie to win. To know the guys and have their back, so that's why we're here today. Build camaraderie, show the guys what I'm about, and continue to build it."
The road will be long, but Brown wants to challenge everyone around him to be better daily and elevate their game to new heights. He's the leader in a fully reconstructed wide receiver room, and his leadership skills should pay dividends for the Raiders as they try to conquer the AFC West next season.