NAPA -- Antonio Brown and Vontaze Burfict have a history. A violent history that is worthy of the old-school AFC North rivalry they were apart of.
Late in the 2015 AFC Wild Card Round, Burfict lowered his helmet and delivered a crushing helmet-to-helmet blow to Brown that gave the receiver a concussion and got Burfict suspended for three games to open the following season.
This dirty hit by Burfict on Antonio Brown during the 2015 playoff knocked him out of that game and next week's game. #Steelers lost 23-16 to the #Broncospic.twitter.com/Sw5pRUjwMg— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 18, 2019
Burfict laid another vicious hit on Brown in 2018, which was worth a $112,000 fine.
Now, of course, Brown and Burfict find themselves as teammates, united in silver and black with the Raiders.
The two supposedly squashed any beef they had when the Raiders added Burfict after the Bengals cut him in the spring. Brown only has made a brief cameo during Raiders training camp so far, but Burfict seems genuinely thrilled to be teammates with a guy who used to hunt two-to-three Sundays a year.
"It's pretty cool actually," Burfict said Monday." Knowing that we had to double him in Cincinnati and now he's on my team and I get to watch him make the crazy plays. So it's exciting. You know, you just want to see the best for him. I can't wait for him to get back on the field so we can give him some good looks and he can give us some good looks because obviously we need that."
The Raiders put their pads on for the first time Monday. The defense looked "OK" by Burfict's admission, but played a tad slow due to their first day with the added weight. The offense had its moments, but without Brown on the field, it's hard to get a full grasp of the weapons at Derek Carr and Jon Gruden's disposal.
Burfict knows all too well how dangerous Brown is, and the mismatches his elite talent creates. He also knows that having his defense deal with someone like Brown in practice on a daily basis should only make them more equipped when the Raiders face the like of Tyreek Hill, Deandre Hopkins and the like.
The old rivals have made peace under the Raider flag, and now it's time to get to work.