Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown's ugly offseason split with the Pittsburgh Steelers involved a deteriorated relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and he's determined to not let the same happen with the Silver and Black and signal-caller Derek Carr.
"It's extremely important to have a relationship off the field because playing football, you get mental tired, you get frustrated. You always want to have that respect for a guy to know where he's coming from, know what he stands for and know what's important to him, so you guys can be on the same page and do what you desire to do and desire to win...
"Camaraderie is key. Any team you need camaraderie to win, to know the guys and have their back, so that's where we are here today. Build camaraderie, show the guys what I'm about and continue to build it."
Brown and Carr have gotten off on the right foot, with the quarterback telling NFL Network's M.J. Acosta that his new receiver is "awesome," "a great teammate" and "a really good friend."
That wasn't all Carr said, though, as he made the following statements on Sirius XM last Wednesday (h/t Vic Tafur of The Athletic):
"Since [the Raiders dealt for Brown], we've spent more time together than I remember even spending with a lot of my teammates, and I spend a lot of time with my teammates. He's at my house, he's coming to my kid's birthday parties, he is coming to throw with me every day whenever I need him. He's flying out whenever I say, 'Hey man, are you in town?' He'll say 'yes,' and show up the next day.
"He's the greatest worker I've ever seen in my life, and I do not throw that around loosely. All of our teammates love him. He just gets along with everybody."
The two are off to a great start, but will their off-field chemistry translate to games?
Oakland has an uphill climb in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers both coming off 12-win seasons. The Raiders will also play home-and-home with the Denver Broncos, who arguably have the league's most fearsome pass-rushing duo in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
Still, the Raiders have reloaded with Brown, ex-Bolts wideout Tyrell Williams, ex-Los Angeles Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner, three first-round picks and others. A significant bounceback off a 4-12 season last year isn't implausible.
Oakland opens the regular season at home against the Broncos on Monday, Sept. 9 at 10:20 p.m. ET.
Until then, fans might get a behind-the-scenes look into how this team develops as the Raiders are a current Hard Knocks candidate, per Field Yates of ESPN. The HBO show documents a team's work during the training camp and preseason.