Fred Biletnikoff, Tim Brown, and Jerry Rice set the precedent for what it means to be an Oakland Raiders Hall of Fame wide receiver.
Now it’s Antonio Brown’s turn.
When people speak about the historical greatness of the Silver and Black, you can’t do so without discussing the aforementioned players and what they meant to the organization. During Brown’s tour of the team’s facility in Alameda, Calif., Brown stopped and gazed at the team’s “Hall of Fame Wall,” mesmerized by the legendary players that have donned The Shield.
“Who’s next,” Brown said aloud reading a prompt next to the Hall of Fame wall. “A lot of great players come to Oakland, that’s crazy.”
Brown is well-versed when it comes to historically great wide receivers, and he’s not shy about his dream of becoming legendary.
Wednesday, AB was officially introduced to the media as an Oakland Raider, with Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock sitting beside him. During his media availability, he answered a wide array of questions, but he made sure to go into detail about the significance of wearing the Silver and Black.
“It’s legendary,” he said when asked about following in the footsteps of Biletnikoff, Brown, and Rice. “It’s an honor to be here, I know some tremendous guys have been in this building. It’s a historic organization with some [talented players] like you just mentioned. I talked with Coach Gruden and I told him all those guys – he’s been around them coaching them – and I’m just here as a sponge to soak up all the information coach got to be as successful as I can be, and help the team take it to a new level. I’m just excited to be in the same building as guys who have been great from the past, and I’m excited to help these guys here go to another level in terms of a winning environment.”
Meet new Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, who joins the Silver and Black as a four-time first-team All-Pro selection and seven-time Pro Bowler.
At 30 years old, Brown is very much still in the prime of his career, and he’s in outstanding shape. The dynamic wide receiver has totaled at least 100 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards in six-consecutive seasons. The Raiders haven’t had a receiver with 1,200 yards since Jerry Rice did back in 2002; however, Gruden has acquired arguably the No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL, so hopefully Brown can eclipse the 1,200-yard mark.
As Brown has continued to establish himself as an elite receiver throughout his career, his aspirations for becoming the greatest receiver of all time have built up steam. With 11,207 receiving yards and 74 touchdowns to his name, Brown has some ground to cover before he can start to put his sights on Jerry Rice’s all-time record of 22,895 receiving yards and 197 touchdowns, but it’s a lofty goal he wants to achieve.
Brown’s work ethic and dedication to his craft are well documented, and in Gruden’s system he’s confident he can excel.
“Mr. Gruden played everything in my decision to come here,” the Miami native shared. “Obviously he’s an offensive guru, you get excited just talking with him. He’s got so much knowledge of the game, he’s coached some of the greatest players ever, so he knows what it takes. He’s been around the game, from in the game, outside the game, and his knowledge is so amazing. He did his homework on me, he’s seen every play I’ve played in, every interception, he’s got the details. He’s a highly professional guy.”
We’ve got a long way to go until training camp, but Brown is determined to remain the No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL.
He concluded his press conference with a simple message, “My goal is to catch Jerry Rice.”
He won’t be able to catch Rice overnight, but it’s clear that Antonio Brown wants to be legendary, just like many of the illustrious Raiders that have come before him.