RAIDERS’ BROWN MOVES CLOSER TO RE­TURN­ING TO PRAC­TICE

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY JOSH DUBOW

An­to­nio Brown made it through a walk­through prac­tice for the Oak­land Raiders with no is­sues with his frost-bit­ten feet and is ex­pected to be a full par­tic­i­pant in prac­tice soon for the first time this sum­mer.

Coach Jon Gru­den said Saturday that he thinks Brown will be able to get back into prac­tice be­fore the Raiders play their third exhibition game next week in Win­nipeg, Man­i­toba, against the Green Bay Pack­ers.

Brown hasn’t taken part in a full prac­tice ses­sion all of train­ing camp as he dealt with in­juries to his feet suf­fered in a cryother­apy mishap in France last month and fought with the NFL over the hel­met he’s al­lowed to use.

“He did every­thing with us just now,” quar­ter­back Derek Carr said. “The man’s re­call is un­be­liev­able. He came in and had no men­tal er­rors. In this of­fense, that’s not easy to do. Es­pe­cially when­ever you have a day off just even as a player, you come back and you have to stay on Coach Gru­den’s of­fense all the time. You can tell An­to­nio has been study­ing be­cause he came out and didn’t miss a beat.”

Brown started train­ing camp on the non-foot­ball in­jury list be­cause of the in­juries to his feet. He par­tic­i­pated in one warmup and part of one prac­tice be­fore leav­ing the team briefly to get treat­ment and deal with a griev­ance with the NFL over his hel­met. He re­turned to the team this past Tues­day after los­ing the griev­ance and be­gan look­ing for a new hel­met. He took part in pregame warmups in Ari­zona two days later and the walk­through on Saturday.

Brown is be­ing counted on as a ma­jor part of Oak­land’s of­fense this sea­son after be­ing ac­quired in a trade from Pitts­burgh back in March. He had 686 catches and 9,145 yards re­ceiv­ing in his fi­nal six sea­sons with the Steel­ers, the best mark ever for a re­ceiver in a six-year span.

In Brown’s ab­sence, the Raiders have got­ten good con­tri­bu­tions in prac­tice and pre­sea­son games with the other re­ceivers on the ros­ter in a pos­i­tive sign at a po­si­tion that was a weak­ness on the team last sea­son.

Tyrell Wil­liams has been a star at prac­tice as the pro­jected starter across from Brown and had a leap­ing 27-yard grab against the Car­di­nals in his only brief pre­sea­son ap­pear­ance. Un­drafted rookie Kee­lan Doss is mak­ing a case for a ros­ter spot with seven catches for 47 yards and a TD in two exhibition games, while fifth-round rookie slot re­ceiver Hunter Ren­frow and free-agent ac­qui­si­tions J.J. Nel­son and Ryan Grant have also flashed.

“It’s awe­some,” Wil­liams said. “I feel like we have guys with speed, guys with size, guys that work in the slot. Every­body has some­thing that’s re­ally unique to them and I think every­body can do every­thing too, so it’s just nice to see.”

RICK SCUTERI AP

Oak­land Raiders wide re­ceiver An­to­nio Brown watches from the side­line dur­ing Thurs­day night’s pre­sea­son game against the Ari­zona Car­di­nals.

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