OAKLAND -- Before Antonio Brown put on a Raiders cap and introduced himself to the NFL as the Silver and Black's newest star. Before there the drama-filled summer, the frostbitten feet, the YouTube video and everything else the narcissistic wideout brought upon the Raiders during his offseason stopover on his way to New England, there was Tyrell Williams.
The Raiders signed Williams with visions of him being quarterback Derek Carr's new No. 1 target. Then, they acquired Brown and Williams slid into the No. 2 spot forming what most assumed would be one of the best-receiving duos in the NFL.
You know the story. Brown launched himself off the reservation, and the Raiders -- at their wit's end with how to handle a diva who couldn't be coddled or reprimanded -- cut him loose and went back to Plan A.
On Monday night, Williams showed Plan A is a damn good one, as he grabbed six passed for 105 yards and a touchdown in his Raiders debut at the Coliseum, helping lift the Silver and Black to a 24-16 win over the Denver Broncos.
Being a No. 1 wide receiver is what Williams has been working toward, so he was ready for the responsibility that comes with being "the man."
"It's definitely an opportunity I've been excited for," Williams said on being the No. 1 target."My second year in the league when [Chargers wide receiver] Keenan Allen got hurt, I was kind of the No. 1 receiver that year, but I just kind of went unnoticed I guess.
"But getting this opportunity and being able to showcase it, especially on a primetime game is exciting, but it's better to see other guys like [Darren] Waller have a crazy game, and Josh [Jacobs] have his first crazy game, and the tackles -- like [Von Miller] wasn't a factor at all -- so the whole team win was an awesome feeling to me."
With the specter of Brown's meltdown hanging over the game, the Raiders' offense went right to business, with Carr hitting Wiliams for an 8-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game. The Raiders made it clear they had put Brown, and all of his nonsense, out of their mind.
"Obviously, it was a big distraction," Williams said of Brown's sideshow. "It was on a lot of people's minds going into this week, but I think we did a great job of letting that be a distraction, letting that be what it was and just keep working. We were going to play regardless, so just let it be what it was and come out here and do what we want to do."
Brown caused innumerable headaches for the Raiders in a short period of time. Head coach Jon Gruden likened the constant insanity to being hit in the temple over and over again.
With the budding YouTube star now preparing to take a crash course in the Patriot Way, many wondered how the Raiders would fill Brown's shoes.
As it turns out, they had him all along. He was their first choice.