First Call: Jon Gruden discusses Antonio Brown’s OTA absence; a comical Pirates mishap |
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Jon Gruden discusses Antonio Brown’s OTA absence; a comical Pirates mishap

Tim Benz
AP Photo
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, center, holds his jersey beside coach Jon Gruden, left, and general manager Mike Mayock during an NFL football news conference Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

In “First Call” Wednesday, Jon Gruden responds to Antonio Brown’s absence in Oakland. A comical Pirates mishap. The Blues win the Western Conference finals with more help from a former Penguin. And someone in Buffalo has O.J. Simpson’s number.

No A.B.? No big deal

That seems to be the reaction from Jon Gruden. The Raiders head coach is downplaying the absence of his newly signed wide receiver.

Brown is a no-show so far at Raiders OTAs. But Gruden is downplaying that topic.

The workouts are voluntary. And A.B. has posted videos of himself running and working out recently. Plus he posted this item which may be suggesting that he is on the way to practices.

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Brown has talked a big game about wanting to get back to football out in Oakland, putting the self-imposed tumult of the offseason behind him.

Brown had a reputation for being all work, all the time with the club in Pittsburgh. That is, until last year at this time. That’s when his attitude toward working within the confines of the Steelers facility really seemed to turn bitter, and Brown was absent until minicamp.

Gruden seems to think things will end better this spring.


It was this kind of night for the Pirates as they lost 5-0 to the Rockies at home.

Here’s how the Rockies scored their first run.

Yup. You saw that right. Francisco Cervelli threw the ball right off of Daniel Murphy’s helmet.

Way to take one for the team, Daniel.

The Juice is loose

And so is his number.

O.J. Simpson’s No. 32 is being given out again by the Buffalo Bills. No one has worn it since 1977. That was Simpson’s last year in Western New York.

Who is the, uh, lucky guy who gets to wear it?

Senorise Perry. He’s a fourth-year running back who also played in Chicago and Miami.

Simpson didn’t seem put off by the move when he spoke to writer Tim Graham of The Athletic.

“Whatever they decide to do will not change the way I feel about the people of Buffalo and my time spent there,” Simpson said during a phone conversation from Las Vegas.

“I thought it was retired,” Perry said. “But then I was told it was available. Boom, I took it.”


Singing in St. Louis

The St. Louis Blues are going to the Stanley Cup Final.

That hasn’t been said since 1970. But the Blues closed out the Sharks on Tuesday night to claim the Western Conference crown.

And former Penguin David Perron was involved again. He scored the first goal of the game, just a few moments into the first period.

That’s Perron’s sixth goal of the postseason. St. Louis faces Boston in the Cup final. The Bruins are the same team they played in 1970.

You may remember how that one ended.

Game 1 is Monday in Boston.

Not done yet

After trailing 2-0 to the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals, the Raptors have evened that best-of-seven series at 2-2.

Toronto managed to do so with a 120-102 win on Tuesday night. Kawhi Leonard had the highlight of the game with this dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Leonard had 19 points. Kyle Lowry led the way with 25. Game 5 is 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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