The Oakland Raiders plan to suspend wideout Antonio Brown after he “got into it” with general manager Mike Mayock, multiple outlets reported Thursday.
Speaking to reporters later in the day, Mayock didn’t confirm the reports.
“Short and sweet, Antonio Brown is not in the building today,” Mayock said. “He won’t be practicing. I don’t have any more information for you right now. When I have some and it becomes appropriate, you guys will all get it but that’s it for today.”
Head coach Jon Gruden declined to get into details after practice, telling reporters the team would have “an official announcement later.” Brown was officially listed on the injury report as a non-participant, with the designation “not injury related – conduct.”
“Obviously he wasn’t here today, and when we have some information for you, we’ll get it to you,” Gruden said.
Multiple outlets reported Brown had to be held back from Mayock by teammates. NFL Network reported that Brown told Mayock he would hit him in the face, then punted a football and said, “Fine me for that.”
Their exchange occurred Wednesday after Brown went on Instagram and posted a letter he received from Mayock detailing the $53,950 in fines he accrued while missing time in training camp.
Brown wasn’t pleased with the letter, judging by his response. “When your own team want to hate but there’s no stopping me now devil is a lie,” he wrote in the caption. “Everyone got to pay this year so we clear.”
Should the Raiders suspend Brown for conduct detrimental to the team, they could make a case that the guarantees in Brown’s contract should be voided. His contract calls for about $30 million of guaranteed money.
Brown, 31, missed time during the preseason while dealing with blistering feet as a result of a frostbite mishap during cryogenic therapy as well as grievances involving his helmet.
The Raiders open the season Monday night at home against the Denver Broncos. Tyrell Williams, signed in March as a free agent from the Chargers, will presumably be the No. 1 wide receiver.
Asked if the team is prepared to play without Brown, Gruden told reporters, “Yeah, and we’ve been doing that.”
“We have been practicing without him and preparing to play no matter who’s … injured,” Gruden added. “We have to adapt, and unfortunately we had to adapt again today, but we’re really excited about our receiving corps.”
The Raiders acquired Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade in March and later signed him to a three-year, $50.125 million contract.
Brown caught at least 100 passes and exceeded 1,200 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons with the Steelers. He appeared in 130 games with Pittsburgh from 2010-18, catching 837 passes for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns.
—Field Level Media