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From OT to Just Offensive

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

When Al Davis owned the Oakland Raiders, the organization was well known for resurrecting the careers of discarded athletes – reclamation projects, if you will – and yielding positive results. Players such as John Matuszak, Lyle Alzado, Clem Daniels and Lincoln Kennedy had their careers resuscitated after donning the silver and black.

More recently, however, the Raiders have struck out badly when it comes to bringing in questionable players. Raider Nation will never forgive Antonio Brown for his self-absorbed antics, for example.

And that brings us to Trent Brown.

The Raiders signed Brown to a free agent contract in March 2019, luring the talented right tackle with a four-year, $66-million deal ($36.75 million guaranteed) that made him the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL. In his first 11 games with Oakland, Brown allowed only 1 sack in 326 pass blocking snaps. For his efforts, he was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. An injury, however, forced him to miss the final five games of the season.

It’s been all downhill since.

Last season, Brown suited up for the Las Vegas Raiders on only five occasions. (Mitchell Renz of The Raiders Report said that amounts to $76,241 per snap.) He showed up for camp overweight and disinterested. In the Raiders’ season opener, Brown left the game after only three plays. That led the team’s broadcast analyst, Lincoln Kennedy, to say: “I personally don’t think Trent Brown loves football. That’s the only way I know how to put it. Because as an offensive lineman, you are always going to play hurt. I’m not saying that he didn’t do what he did to get his contract, and deservingly so. He played his way up. But three plays? Three plays is all you give me in game one and you just had a cush training camp?”

As the season progressed, Victor Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote, “It’s safe to say there is concern about whether Brown, who has a calf injury, is doing everything he can to be available for all four quarters, whether it’s being diligent with the injury management program or fighting through whatever he is dealing with on game day.”

Brown’s listed playing weight in 2020 was 375 pounds. During the season, his weight reportedly increased to 400 pounds.

Since the end of the season, Brown has deleted all Raiders-related images and comments on his Instagram. He has also “Liked” messages encouraging him to return to his previous team, the New England Patriots. And most recently, he posted this on his Instagram:

That post appears to indicate that Brown feels he matters more than the team. Some observers think Brown is trying to get the Raiders to release him as soon as possible, giving him more options when the league’s free agency negotiating period gets underway on March 15.

If the Raiders do part with Brown, most of Raiders Nation won’t miss him. Some selected fan comments:

“He obviously does not want to put the effort and hard work it takes to stay a top player. Cut his 400 lb. ass and go after a replacement.”

“He just wants to collect his millions and eat his cake.”

“This is the most obvious cut in history. Adios, Tubby.”

“Why is this even being debated? He’s not reliable, this team hasn’t gotten a return on its investment and he’s dogging it. Cut him.”

“Restructure his contract and pay him in cheeseburgers.”

“Let him walk, if he can. Lol.”

Will the Raiders part ways with Trent Brown? Or are his on-field talents too valuable to give up on him? Stay tuned.

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