After a frustrating 2022 campaign, Hunter Renfrow did some soul-searching this offseason.
"The Slot Machine" was on cloud nine following the 2021 season. He led the Raiders in catches (103), receiving yards (1,038) and touchdown grabs (nine) with a playoff appearance and Pro Bowl selection to show for it. He was rewarded with a multi-year contract extension, and felt confident in attempting the same production in 2022 or even taking his game to new heights alongside Davante Adams.
Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. Renfrow suffered a concussion in the last play of the Week 2 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. He went on to miss the next two games, and later suffered another injury in Week 9 that sidelined him for another five games. He finished out the last four games of the season with 138 yards and his only two touchdown catches.
Renfrow went back home to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and stayed there the majority of the offseason. Back in his hometown and surrounded by family and friends, the self-doubt and anxiety began to escape him. Now going into his fifth season, he's simplified the game of football with no set expectations.
"I just got back to the fundamentals, back to the basics. Back to why you love the game," Renfrow said Friday. "The biggest thing for me that I learned was to control what I can control. And I think that [I got] pulled in a lot of directions and expectations, unnecessary ones that I put on myself. Just go out there and have a great day, have a great practice and take it one day at a time, one rep at a time, one route at a time and have that singular mindset."
"My big thing for this year is find ways to have fun and not really care about the outside noise," he added. "Just go out there and go in with my teammates and find a way to have a blast."
Renfrow also touched on the benefits of having a year under his belt in McDaniels' scheme. He feels he's able to move quicker on the field with more knowledge of his role. The Raiders also brought in former Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola as a coaching assistant. Amendola played a similar role to Renfrow for New England, and has been a great resource for him in practices.
"He's crafty. Not even physically, but mentally too," Jakobi Meyers said of Renfrow. "The way he puts routes together or thinks about before he even runs them is a unique skill set. Another one of those guys who's earned every compliment he's gotten."
The overall message from Renfrow is that he's only concerned with helping his teammates win. Not only just proving his worth to the team, but living up to his own standard.
"The big thing for me [is] I felt like I let a lot of teammates down last year," said Renfrow. "And that's something that left a bad taste in my mouth. Something I want to get over and prove to them through the spring and also going into the season that I'm a guy they can count on and is going to be consistent."
View the best photos from Friday's Training Camp practice at Intermountain Health Performance Center.