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Gruden ‘optimistic’ on AB’s progress after drills

The show Antonio Brown put on in running routes and catching passes from Derek Carr on the State Farm Stadium grass before the Oakland Raiders’ 33-26 exhibition defeat of the Arizona Cardinals Thursday night has coach Jon Gruden hopeful.

As in, Gruden hopes Brown practices with the Raiders before the team breaks camp in Napa on Monday.

“I’m not going to say anything else, but I’m very optimistic after what I saw tonight,” Gruden said after the game, in which Oakland built a 26-0 lead, with its defensive starters playing four series against No. 1 draft pick Kyler Murray.

“Hell yeah, it was encouraging. It was great to have him back. You know, it’s been a strange, strange couple weeks, with frostbite and the helmet grievance. Can’t say that that’s common, at least in my history in this league. But we’ve weathered the storm.”

Brown had been away from the team for two weeks after starting camp on the Non-Football Injury List before participating in one pre-practice walkthrough on July 28 and being limited on July 30 and then leaving the field early.

Brown was away seeking treatment on the soles of his feet, which he injured in a cryotherapy mishap in France early last month. He told ESPN’s Lisa Salters the injury occurred because he only wore socks. Therapy included laser treatments, said Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, who added that the injury was the main reason Brown was absent from camp and not so much his grievance against the NFL to let him wear his 10-year-old Schutt Air Advantage helmet, the only helmet he has worn in his professional career.

Brown lost the grievance on Monday and returned to Napa on Tuesday.

Gruden would not say what helmet Brown was wearing during warmups.

“I’m not talking about it anymore,” Gruden said. “It was a legal, certified helmet, you know? Somebody approved it, or he wouldn’t have worn it.

“It’s great to see him out there with his teammates. He appears to be in great spirits and he appears like he’s ready to get going here so, that’s Antonio Brown. We’re excited about him. I’m excited about him. I could care less what anybody else says, I’m excited.”

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