The 14th edition of Hard Knocks got off to a slower start than Antonio Brown has in his first training camp with the Raiders.
Rookie safety Johnathan Abram looks like he will become the star of the five-episode training camp reality show on HBO. He was featured more than any other player Tuesday.
Abram brought $500 worth of snacks to camp, rode horses with fellow first-round choice Clelin Ferrell, was chastised by head coach Jon Gruden for being too aggressive in a non-padded practice and debated with Derek Carr about the pronunciation of “salmon.”
But Brown’s feet quickly became the biggest storyline.
PFT Live co-host Chris Simms reported earlier Tuesday that Brown’s feet were frostbitten in a cryotherapy machine. Hard Knocks made no mention of what is medically wrong with Brown’s feet, saying only the star receiver “is hobbled by injuries to his feet.”
Brown’s first appearance on the show is from Florida, working out with his personal trainer, Alex Whitehair. Whitehair tries to get Brown to dial it down in his workouts because of his healing feet.
“I know you want to go,” Whitehair said.
“I’ve got a lot of people around me that are depending on me to perform,” Brown explained after his workout. “This is my livelihood, being on my feet, being able to cut. They don’t want to hear any excuse. I’m new to the team. I’m, just like everyone else, fighting to make the team. So take a couple of days to get right. But fired up to show Raider Nation what I’m about.”
Brown started training camp on the non-football injury list. He exited NFI, practiced for a few days, and then was unable to practice. He has seen a specialist.
At one point late in the show, Gruden asked head athletic trainer H. Rod Martin about Brown’s availability.
“He can’t handle the sharp cuts,” Martin said.
The Raiders, like Whitehair, couldn’t get Brown to slow down despite his feet not being fully healed.
“Can’t you just turn it up mentally and give the body a break here and just cool it?” Gruden asked Brown.
Brown responded, “I’ve got to let these guys what they’ve got on the team. I’ve got to bring some juice.”
Gruden wants his receiver back at full speed, because he brings “juice” to practice.
“It’s good to see Antonio out here today, you know?” Gruden said in the episode. “When he practices, he elevates everybody. He elevates the defense, because they don’t want to look bad. And the receivers that are playing with him don’t want to look bad.”