The Antonio Brown Stuff is a Gold Mine for 'Hard Knocks,' But Don't Get Your Hopes Up


This week, the saga of Antonio Brown at Oakland Raiders’ training camp took another set of twists and turns. Tensions have bubbled to the point where the wide receiver has threatened to retire from the NFL over his inability to wear his old helmet, which is no longer certifiable for use in NFL games. Needless to say, the Raiders’ big acquisition of the off-season is not panning out as they had hoped.

All this as NFL Films’ cameras watch closely for the ongoing season of Hard Knocks.

The HBO reality show’s look at the Raiders premiered Tuesday night. Brown, naturally, commanded much of the spotlight for his frostbitten foot, suffered earlier that week at a cryotherapy machine.

In its 14 seasons, Hard Knocks has documented – and some might argue, created – some tense team situations. Who can forget thismoment from 2012, when cameras documented the moment the Miami Dolphins cut Chad Ochocinco. Or last season’s tense confrontation between Hue Jackson and Freddie Kitchens – a moment that may have had a hand in the Browns’ decision to fire the former and replace him with the latter?

Over the years, NFL coaches (un)lucky enough to have their teams featured on HBO have tightened the clamps on what the cameras can show, and Jon Gruden will probably be no exception to the rule. He himself is doing his best to ignore the spectacle.

“We’re not going to be eating Cracker Jacks and peanuts and watching it. We’ve got meetings,” he said to the San Francisco Chronicle before the season premiere Tuesday.

However, with the media circus that Antonio Brown seems to generate every hour, it’ll be hard to put a lid on things this time. A Hard Knocks season without mentioning this fiasco would be like a World War II documentary that glosses over the atom bomb.