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Antonio Brown offers revisionist history on his Raiders departure

Former NFL receiver Antonio Brown’s recent appearance on Tyreek Hill’s podcast included an airing of grievances regarding the Buccaneers, Tom Brady, and Brady’s TB12 Svengali, Alex Guerrero. It’s unclear whether and to what extent Brown’s complaints are accurate and truthful.

If Brown’s comments from that same podcast regarding his departure from the Raiders are any indication of his overall credibility and accuracy, his claims about the Bucs could be a tad askew.

Brown created the unmistakable impression that he struck a deal to secure his release from the Raiders, by giving up the $30 million in guaranteed money he was due to earn.

“Mark Davis stood up on a limb for me,” Brown said about his exit from the team that at the time was still in Oakland. “As a honorable man, I told him, ‘Like, yo, I don’t want to be a Raider.’ Save him his money. . . . I handle business respectably.”

Hill seemed to be surprised that the Raiders simply would let Brown go. Brown emphasized the benefit to Davis of cutting Brown.

“It saved him money,” Brown said. “If I get on the roster the first opening day of the game, he owe me $30 million. He made a deal to let me go, but no one ever knew that.”

Brown later made even more clear his position that he gave up $30 million in order to get his release.

“So I got to the Raiders, and I’m like, ‘Yo, Mark, I love everything about it here. I love money, but it’s not championship culture, it’s not the environment I want to be in. I love you, I appreciate the $30 million, but I already got 30. Not to be arrogant, but I got it. I don’t need to hustle you.’”

It sounds great, but it’s factually incorrect, for several important reasons.

First, the Raiders had voided the guarantees before the issue of cutting Brown even came up. The $30 million was gone. It was over. Kaput. Finito. Subject to a grievance but, still, the Raiders had yanked the $30 million based on Brown’s misbehavior throughout training camp and the preseason. Indeed, Brown first started agitating for his outright release after the guarantees were wiped out.

Second, as to the idea that the Raiders would have owed Brown his full salary if he was on the Week One active roster, the Raiders also had informed him that he had waived his right to termination pay. Again, it would have been subject to a grievance, but the Raiders had papered the record in support of an eventual argument that Brown’s conduct forfeited his right to the balance of his 2019 base salary if he was on the opening-day roster, a CBA-secured right for any player with four or more years of service.

Third, if Brown meant he was simply giving up his right to pursue payments the Raiders had already taken from him in exchange for his release, he overlooked one key fact. Brown STILL FILED A GRIEVANCE against the Raiders in an effort to get the $30 million.

So, to summarize, Brown told Davis he didn’t need to hustle the Raiders. And then he tried to hustle the Raiders. He tried to get the $30 million, after he was released.

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