Hours after the Raiders released star wide receiver Antonio Brown, coach Jon Gruden insisted the team "tried every way possible to make it work."
"We just have exhausted everything," Gruden told reporters in Alameda on Saturday. " ... All I'm gonna say is it's disappointing. I'm really proud -- really proud -- of our players, our coaches, our owner, our front office. We did everything we could to make this work, and I'm sorry it didn't. I apologize, but I will tell you I'm very proud of what we did as an organization to try."
The Raiders reportedly fined Brown $215,073.53 on Friday night for conduct detrimental to the team, allowing them to void the $29.125 million in contract guarantees Brown was owed. Brown asked the Raiders to release him in an Instagram post Saturday, and he told multiple reporters he would not play for the team after his guarantees were voided. Oakland oblidged Saturday morning, ending Brown's bizarre time with the Raiders just shy of six months after the team acquired him for a pair of draft picks from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brown confronted Mayock on Thursday after the Raiders fined him for missing practice and a walkthrough, and Brown returned to practice Friday to apologize to his (now-former) teammates and issue a short statement to the assembled media. On Friday night, Brown posted a stylishly edited YouTube video featuring what seemed to be a phone conversation with Gruden.
Gruden said Saturday he was disappointed he wouldn't get a chance to coach Brown, and "a series of things" led to the Raiders cutting ties with the 31-year-old. Still, Gruden said he wished Brown "the very best."
"I was very hopeful about what he could bring here," Gruden said. "Unfortunately, it's not going to happen. And I'll tell ya: He's a good guy. He's misunderstood by a lot of people, but he is a good guy. He's a great player, and I hope he gets what he's looking for and I'm gonna close it with that."
Gruden and the Raiders will open the 2019 season Monday night against the Denver Broncos. Brown, meanwhile, can sign with another team as soon as 1:01 p.m. PT on Saturday.