Trent Brown is the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL, and he's a Super Bowl Champion, but he's not satisfied.
A few years ago, Brown was made an afterthought in the minds of the San Francisco 49ers, after being traded to the New England Patriots — and, boy, did he prove them wrong. After ending the 2017 season prematurely due to injury, Brown rebounded with a dominant season in 2018, protecting Tom Brady's blindside on his way to the first Super Bowl win of his career.
In the past six months, Brown has earned all the reassurance he needs to remind him that he belongs in the NFL, but when you're the "Greatest Underdog" some things are never enough.
"I mean, I just, I want more," Brown told the media Sunday. "I feel like people think I'll get the money and then just become lazy but no, I want another huge contract. I want more rings. You know what I mean? I want more of everything. I'm thirsty for it."
Head Coach Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock were persistent in their pursuit of Brown for a couple reasons: the Raiders needed help and added depth along the offensive line after Derek Carr was sacked a career-high 51 times last year, and Brown's mentality is part of the new culture they want to establish going forward.
"If you look at our free agents that we signed, they're all going to be in major roles on both sides of the football," offensive coordinator Greg Olson shared. "We tried to bring in guys who have won in the National Football League and Trent Brown is one of them. We like the example that really all our free agents have set."
To Olson's point, each of the newest members of the Silver and Black lead in their own way, and Brown's strategy is to let his actions speak louder than his words. Talk is cheap and at a young age Brown's father helped him understand that more people are willing to listen and learn from someone who's about their business.
The Raiders hit the practice fields for their first practice of 2019 Training Camp.
"Really, I just grew up, my dad is not a man of many words, but his actions speak for him, and when he says something, everybody knows it's Bible and I just learn from him," he said. "A whole lot of talking isn't really intriguing to nobody. It shouldn't be anyway. If your actions are on point, that's all you should be looking at from anybody."
"He just comes in and works," Derek Carr said Saturday. "He's real quiet. Real quiet, but he's a great guy when you talk to him. Any of those young guys, those O-Line guys, you just watch that guy and you're like, 'Oh yeah, he works.' Everything social media nowadays, you watch the guy on Instagram, he's working, grinding every day. [Inaudible] does some stuff for O-Line only. I mean he was pushing thousands of pounds, a truck. This dude's a baller."
The pads haven't come on at practice yet, but the overall feel of training camp this year is different than a season ago, and it feels like the players have a renewed mindset. I think the additions of Trent Brown, Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, and Lamarcus Joyner are a big reason for that. The culture is changing for the Silver and Black, and Brown is among the many leading by example.
As one of the two towers along the offensive line, Brown is ready to lay the foundation for what's to come. He might be a proven player as he enters his fifth season in the league, but you'd be wrong to assume this is as far as his meter goes. Brown is trending upward and he's keeping the fact he was once a seventh-round pick in the back of his mind.
"I just feel like I've been put on the back burner my whole life," Brown explained. "Me, just from being a seventh-round draft pick to now. And even through the process, people try to dim my light."
Greatest Underdog might be his moniker, but I think 2019 is the year of the underdog for the Oakland Raiders as a whole.