The Hard Knocks Podcast: “All In or All Out” (with Rich Eisen) | Episode 3 | HBO

The Hard Knocks Podcast: “All In or All Out” (with Rich Eisen) | Episode 3 | HBO

a weird week coming up,
but we’re a bunch
of weird guys, right?
-(PLAYERS CHUCKLING)All right, let’s get a break!
Let’s go with Mike Glennon
tonight, man.
-Let’s go with Mike Glennon.
Mike, get over here.
PLAYER:Hey, Raiders on three.-One, two, three!
-All:Raiders!GRUDEN:Hey, Mike Glennon,
you got some neck, man!
We got some neck!PETER SCHRAGER: Yes he does. That’s Jon Gruden talking about
backup quarterback Mike Glennon and his much-discussed neck. Glennon made some big plays in the Raiders’ second
preseason game, comedian Frank Caliendo
stopped by, calf sizes were compared, and we took a lovely boat ride with Canadian-born tight end
Luke Wilson and his father. It was a very fun third episode
ofHard Knocks.But that doesn’t mean
the week was without its drama. ♪ (“HARD KNOCKS” THEME PLAYS) ♪ I am your host, Peter Schrager, and damn it,
I’m gonna say it again: (MIMICKING GRUDEN)
Knock on wood if you’re with me! (NORMAL VOICE)
It’s the 14th season of the reality sports
documentary series from NFL Films and HBO Sports, and already, it’s the show’s
most captivating campaign yet. More Antonio Brown
all-access moments, which at times was awesome,
and at others, just confusing. This week on the podcast,
we’ll get some inside scoops on the Raiders’
handling of the situation when I’m joined by Rich Eisen, the face of the NFL Network and the host of
The Rich Eisen Show.
Rich worked side-by-side
with Raiders general manager
Mike Mayock for more than a decade
at NFL Network. He’s got a thing or two to share about Oakland’s
first-year executive who dished out the stern warning
heard around the world to Antonio Brown
last Sunday night. And of course, like every week, I’ve got my MVP
and what to watch for in next week’s episode. But before we get to Rich
and all of that, let’s set the scene for you
on this Antonio Brown stuff. ♪ (MUSIC CONTINUES) ♪ Like every other week
ofHard Knocks this season, Jon Gruden came out of the gates
and expressed his support for his guy, Antonio Brown. GRUDEN:
We’ve known the whole time.
He had frostbite.He took four or five days
to get it checked out.
And we knew about the grievancesince the first day of OTAs,
which we did.
You know, I don’t know
what the story’s–
you know, the fucking story
is around here.
MAN: Trying to find him
a helmet
from the last 10 years,
the same model.
Tried everything, really.
I give the guy creditfor standing up
for what he believes in.
Everybody else does
in this country.
SCHRAGER: So there’s Gruden
supporting his guy, and with some cool music and really cool
hot air balloon imagery, Raiders general manager
Mike Mayock notifies starting quarterback
Derek Carr that, in fact,
his boy is back in Napa. And sure enough,
there Antonio Brown is, coming out of the car
at Raiders’ camp, all smiles, being flanked by his agent,
Drew Rosenhaus, and friends, and cameras,
and, oh my. GRUDEN:Where’s Antonio Brown?
Is he here?
ANTONIO BROWN:Yeah, I’m here.GRUDEN:Where is he?(TEAM CHEERING) TEAMMATE: Antonio Brown’s back!
All right.
And that’s in front of the team. But perhaps
the more important conversation was the one Gruden had with Antonio Brown’s agent,
Drew Rosenhaus. DREW ROSENHAUS:
By the way, I think–
I think we got
the helmet figured out.
What we came up with
is a little bit of a loophole.
We found that if we can find onethat was made
within the last 10 years,
-they didn’t ban it.
-GRUDEN:Huh?ROSENHAUS:So I think we can
make that work for us.
-GRUDEN:Change, man.
-ROSENHAUS:It’s hard, you know?Nine years and you kick assand you don’t have
any injuries.
I’m not saying that
we handled it the right way,
but he’ll kick ass for you.He’s gonna help you win
a lot of football games.
-GRUDEN:Yes, he will.
so let’s back up. What are they talking
about there? First, that’s
Drew Rosenhaus’s voice. He’s one of the most respected
agents in the NFL, and a guy who’s got
as star-studded a client list
as any. And what he and his client,
Antonio Brown, discovered through this helmet battle
with the league, is that the reason the helmet that Brown has worn
his entire career is no longer acceptable
by the league’s
new safety standards is because it is older
than ten years old. The manufacturer stopped making
the model Brown rocked for all those seasons
in Pittsburgh, something called
the Air Assault II,
that’s the model. So the loophole
that Drew Rosenhaus discovers is that…
though that particular helmet was older than ten years old
and is no longer made, there are some Air Assault II’s
that are out there in the world that have been made since 2009,
less than ten years ago. And because these helmets, which are floating
around the world somewhere, are less than ten years old and they weren’t specifically
prohibited by the NFL, Rosenhaus and Brown thought if they can get their hands
on a few of them, get those tested, and maybe then approved
by NOCSAE, the governing body, all would be okay. That, “Yes, Antonio Brown, you can’t wear
the exact same helmet, but here’s one that’s been made
in the last ten years. Let’s get it tested. It’s given the okay,
and you can wear it.” Huh. ANTONIO BROWN:
Working with the NFL,
getting the right equipment,I’ve been working hard
on the side,
I’ve been going and taking care
of the feet.
So I want to give it
to my teammates,
so hopefully soon,get out there and get to work.You know,
too much noise right now.
More work, less noise.Felt like I was enemy
of the fucking state.
Fuck.SCHRAGER: The enemy
of the bleeping state. Brown delivers this monologue, and then we see him discussing
the analytics of Antonio Brown with a man named Jamie Hepner. Here they are talking about,
well, how good Antonio Brown is. JAMIE HEPNER:AB caught
the most touchdowns last year.
And coincidentally, against
the guys we compared against,
he ran the most yards quickly.So over 12 miles an hour,
compared to these guys,
he ran further on average,in his hardest game,
and total.
BROWN:See, men lie, women lie,
but the analytics don’t.
You know?-Lot of people tell stories.
-HEPNER: What’d you say?-BROWN: Men lie,
women lie, right?
-(HEPNER CHUCKLING) -BROWN:But the analytics don’t.
-HEPNER: Numbers don’t lie, manBROWN:Numbers don’t lie.
It’s the factuals.
SCHRAGER: Words of wisdom
from Antonio Brown. Who’s the other guy?
Who’s Hepner? He’s an applied sports scientist at a company called
Catapult Sports. I went on the website LinkedIn
to find him, and there he was, ’cause I’d never heard
his name before. But he’s part of a new wave
of football information. And he’s more
than merely numbers, though. These guys and gals, they’re
called sports scientists, and they look at everything,
from sleep habits to eating regimens
to work usage at practice. Hepner may be telling Brown
what he likes hearing, that he’s really, really,
really, really good, but he’s right. Because remember,
men lie, women lie, but analytics,
they do not lie. That is some line from Brown. So all seemed to be going well
in Raiders land, and then we get
to preseason action, week two against
the Arizona Cardinals. And there’s Antonio Brown,
cheering on the team, and he’s in high spirits, and though he doesn’t play
in the game, and we don’t know
if it’s because of the helmet, or because they’re resting
his foot, or they’re just keeping him
on ice because they’re waiting
for the regular season. Whatever the reason,
we see Antonio Brown, and he’s in a Raiders’ uniform
and he looks great. -And he’s happy.
-♪ (SOMBER MUSIC PLAYS) ♪ But then, towards the end
of the episode, Antonio Brown is no longer
at Raiders’ camp. He’s missing, and we learn he’s upset, again,
about the helmet issue. The loophole, apparently,
did not work. And finally, finally, someone
from the Raiders organization draws a line in the sand
and addresses it publicly. That man was not
Coach Jon Gruden, but rather, first-year
general manager Mike Mayock. MIKE MAYOCK:Uh, you all know
that AB is not here today,
So, here’s the bottom line.He’s upset
about the helmet issue.
We have supported that,
we appreciate that.
Okay? But we’ve– at this point,we’ve pretty much exhausted
all avenues of relief.
So from our perspective,it’s time for him
to be all in, or all out.
SCHRAGER: And up until now, we hadn’t heard much
from Mike Mayock. So to hear him suddenly
come out so strong on the issue left us with some things
to consider. To talk more about it,
I called up a guy whose name is synonymous
with the NFL, Mayock’s former colleague
Rich Eisen. RICH EISEN:My 11-year-old
strolled into the room last
right in the middle
of Antonio Brown’s
f-bomb tirade,
and I paused it, and he goes,
“What are you watching?”
I said, “Hard Knocks.”And I’m like,
“There’s a lot of f–
a lot of
not-safe-for-your-ears words.”
EISEN: And he goes,
“A lot of f-bombs?”
I’m like, “Yeah,
a lot of football.”
(BOTH LAUGH) SCHRAGER: Rich is the face
of the NFL’s media arm. He’s been with the NFL Network
since its inception in 2003, and is the host
of its entertaining Sunday-morning pregame show,
NFL GameDay.
He’s also the MC of the annual
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Friday Night dinner. He introduces the newly inducted
class of Hall of Famers at the honors awards show
each January. And he anchors
both the NFL Draft and the league’s
NFL Scouting Combine for the NFL Network. He also worked with Mike Mayock
on draft coverage for more than a decade. You see, Eisen and Mayock
are pals. And for years, they were
the ideal one-two combo of NFL Draft coverage on TV. But Mayock, a long-respected
evaluator of NFL talent, left all that behind
to finally pursue his dream of being an NFL GM
this past January. ♪ (TENSE MUSIC PLAYS) ♪ SCHRAGER:I find Mayock’s
relationship to
NFL Filmsso fascinating,and so full-circle
now that he’s doing
Hard Knocks.Can you just give
a little bit more light
-on what Mike Mayock was doing
25 years ago…

-EISEN: Sure.SCHRAGER:…and kind of
take them through
the broadcasting process?
EISEN:He would tell me
this story on occasion.
I mean, he didn’t–Mike didn’t like to
wax rhapsodic very much,
but he’s got a big heart,and he’s got a big soft spot
and big heart
forNFL Films and Steve Sabol.Because here’s a guy, you know,
who loves ball.
I mean, he’s been around it,
he’s the son of a coach,
and played– picked like 200
something or other
by the Steelers, actually,and winds up with the Giants.He played special teamsand just couldn’t stick
in the NFL.
And then, like many guys
who couldn’t stick in the NFL,
had to find something else
to do with their lives.
And he landed on
commercial real estate,
but just realized he wanted
to get back into football,
so he knocked on the door
of Steve Sabol
and asked for advice,and Sabol basically
gave him some advice
and then also gave him
an opportunity at
NFL Filmsto look at film
and stuff like that,
and off Mayock went,and eventually got
on the NFL Network.
So, that’s Mike’s history.So I knew that when Hard Knocks
came knocking on his door,
or knocking on
the Raiders’ door,
that, at the very least,
he would know
most of the people
are coming in with their cameras
and respect what they had to doand knew exactly
what they were looking for.
Uh, which is why you
don’t see very much of him…
(CHUCKLING)…in Hard Knocks.. -SCHRAGER:Yeah.
-EISEN:…you know, at all.SCHRAGER:Perhaps no one
in our sports media world
knows Mike Mayock
as well as you.
How would you describe
Mike’s approach to
football and teambuilding
as a whole?
EISEN:Well, I think
you’re seeing it.
You’re also just seeing
guys who are…
clear-eyed and fullhearted,to use
Friday Night Lightsphrase.-SCHRAGER: (CHUCKLING)Nice.
-EISEN:You know?And you’re seeing
what he would call
high-character guys.You’re seeing guys who are just
football junkies,
which he is too.-This kid Abram, I mean…
you’re seeing it right now.
Like, that’s a Mayock guy,Ferrell’s a Mayock guy,Renfrow’s a Mayock guy.And also, you know, guys who
are gonna get second chances
who are fighting hard
and deserve the second chance
despite what their first chance
and how it was squandered.
I was totally unaware-of the Darren Waller story…
-SCHRAGER: Oh my God.-EISEN: …until last night.
-SCHRAGER:I had no idea either.I was blown away by that.And again,
that’s a Mayock guy too.
And also, you know, the thing
that’s leaving a lot of people
who’ve known Mike a little bit
scratching our heads
is seeing Incognito
on this team,
Vontaze Burfict on this team,who are guys that, you know,
we would never–
having worked with Mike
for as long as
we’ve worked with him
and heard him talk about
high-character guys–But you’re seeing
what Mike wants to build.
Guys who love football,breathe it, eat it,
chew it up, spit it out.
That’s what you’re seeing
about Mayock here.
SCHRAGER: And you mentioned
the football guys. Renfrow, they seem to love him.
Clelin Ferrell. These are all guys
who were captains in college and all that stuff. And then, knowing Mayock
the way you do, what were you thinking,
you as Rich Eisen, his former colleague, as you see all this Antonio Brown stuff
play out, and Drew Rosenhaus
onsite at practice, strolling with an entourage and then
Antonio Brown going AWOL? What were you thinking
when all of this was happening before Mayock made his big
Sunday night proclamation? EISEN: Well, I mean, Mike
is being a general manager,
and he knows the way
the game is played.
I mean, he understands thatthere are gonna be people
with agendas and agents
and folks that he needs
to deal with,
and I’m sure he acquired
Antonio Brown
with eyes open,
but not foreseeing
whatever the heck happened
with the helmet.
SCHRAGER: Do you think now, as he’s going through
this Antonio Brown stuff and he’s doing all this
with the Raiders, and he’s probably pursuing
the dream of his lifetime, to be a general manager
in the NFL, do you think he’s having
a better time doing this? Or do you think,
knowing Mike Mayock, he’d rather be in Provo, Utah,
watching some defensive tackle who’s 19 years old training– you know, trying to get ready
for the NFL draft? EISEN: He’s in his element.-I mean, he’s the ultimate pig
in you know what.

-(CHUCKLING)I mean, that’s what I thought.I thought he’s probably walking
around that stadium,
the field that he– you know,
the field that he’s been on
-many times before…
-As an announcer, sure. EISEN: Yeah, as an announcer–
that he is now
the general manager
of the Oakland freaking Raiders,
and had a large, large role
in putting
a lot of those players
in those uniforms on that field.
And he was gonna go and watch
the guys that he picked out
go out and ball out
and try and win a job.
And I think that… this is–this is it, man,
this is what he wants.
And I couldn’t have been
I literally saw that
in his face.
-As he was walking around.
SCHRAGER: I got goosebumps,
you just saying that. Just thinking about friends
and life -and pursuing things.
-Like, he picked these kids.
He picked a lot of these kids.
He’s picked a lot of these,
or he’s in an integral role
and picking
a lot of these free agents,
guys who are trying to get gigs.
And he’s actually now gonna sit
and watch them develop.
And he’s actually gonna put it
all on the line
and hope to win a Super Bowl.And like, damn straight,
this is what he wants to do,
-I really believe it.
-SCHRAGER: That’s so cool. Uh, you’ve got a cool project
with NFL Films this season in honor of the league’s
100th year. The NFL 100 thing is such
a big initiative for the league, and you’ve got
a really cool deal. Can you explain to the listeners
where they can find you and what this project is? EISEN: Well, I wish
I could tell them the “when.”
I’m still wondering when.I think it’s gonna happen
late in the season,
but it’s six episodes
of a show called
The NFL 100 All-Time Team.And it’s 100 players,
10 coaches,
that were selected by
the proverbial blue-ribbon panel
of, um– of experts,and um, it’s the all-time teamin honor of the 100th season
of professional football.
Mike Muriano,
who’s our fearless leader
on the production side
at the NFL Network,
who I’ve worked with since
day one at the NFL Network,
came up to me and told me
about this show.
And, you know,
“You’d be hosting the show,
and the analyst that we think
we’re gonna get
is Bill Belichick.”
And I’m like, “What?”
(LAUGHS) I’m like that–
“What? Really?”
And sure enough, Bill did it,
and they wound up
also having Cris Collinsworth
on board.
-SCHRAGER: Amazing.
-So, I’m hosting
and those are your two analysts.
SCHRAGER: Belichick,
the TV analyst, how was he? -EISEN: Amazing.
-SCHRAGER: Amazing. EISEN: I mean, he is the perfec
analyst for this,
Peter, because–and I know what I’m saying
when I say this–
his passion came through.And I’ll just tell you
one other story
that I think I’ve told before.So…(CHUCKLING)The plan was, let’s just
let all the conversations
go as long as possible.
We do have in-studio guests
who are gonna be
members of the team,
-who are told
they’re on the team.

-Sure. EISEN: You know, they sit down.
They have an inkling.
-Let’s put that way.
-Yeah. (CHUCKLES) -EISEN: They were schlepped
NFL Filmsfor a reason.
-SCHRAGER: “We’re not flying you to Mount Laurel, New Jersey,
for nothing,” yes. EISEN: Right.(CHUCKLES)So, some of the conversations
were just absolutely amazing.
And the concept was just let
it go as long as it needs to go.
But that would mean somebody
who’s gonna be
one of the last guests
to be brought on
would be waiting
to be brought on.
So, we’re talking,and… one of the rare times
that someone from
Filmsgot in my ear and say,“Look, so-and-so is waiting,
and we gotta bring him out.
So when you can get out
of this conversation, let’s go.”
But the conversation was
with a player on the set
with whom Belichick has
a lush history.
And the two of them
were talking and it was amazing.
And I’m thinking to myself,
“I cannot believe
I’m in a situation in my
professional broadcasting career
where I have to go
to commercial break, but can’t
because Bill Belichick
won’t stop talking.
SCHRAGER: It’s so good. It’s so good.
Rich, this is tremendous. Love seeing your friend Mayock
succeed at this level and go on this journey,
and it means so much to us on the podcast
to have you on as a guest. EISEN:Anytime, brother.♪ (MUSIC PLAYS) ♪ SCHRAGER: So if Bill Belichick
is an expert on the NFL’s first 100 years, as Rich so eloquently explained, there’s gotta be a next wave
of NFL superstars coming. Maybe one of them is Raiders
rookie wide receiver, Hunter Renfrow. GRUDEN:We have decided
to get bigger, faster,
better conditioned athletes.
Say it with me, men.
ALL:Bigger, faster,
better conditioned athletes.
So we have Hunter Renfrow.
SCHRAGER: They’re laughing at
a shirtless picture of Renfrow, and maybe he doesn’t look like
your typical NFL wide receiver. He’s five foot ten.
He’s 185 pounds, and even his teammates
are questioning his age. -DEREK CARR: How old are you?
-PLAYER:He’s 23.-CARR:There’s
no chance you’re 23.

-HUNTER RENFROW: I’m 23.CARR:You’re at least 37.Thirty-seven. He’ll play
for like another three years.
-PLAYER:He’ll retire at 40.
-(CARR LAUGHS)Retire…SCHRAGER: And then we get
an amazing montage of Renfrow highlights. Guys, Hunter Renfrow is a legend
among college football fans. In the biggest games
in the biggest of moments, it was Renfrow making
the biggest plays for two different national
championship squads at Clemson. He was what’s known as
a college walk-on, and before his freshman year
was even over, he was a starting wide receiver on one of the best teams
in the country. Before the NFL Draft,
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said of Renfrow, “I wish
I could have him for five more years.
He’s special. He’s such a great teammate
and leader. He’s just a worker
and to me, he’s the epitome of what makes this game great. When he puts that helmet on,
he’s Superman.” In April,
the Raiders traded up in the draft to select him
in the fifth round. Hunter Renfrow
does not look like your typical NFL wide receiver,
and he may look 37 years old, as Derek Carr was joking,
but he’s exactly the type of guy with the type of
rags to riches story that Gruden and Mayock are looking
to build their team around.Hard Knocks has a long storied
history of highlighting these type of guys,
whether it was Danny Amendola with the Dallas Cowboys
in training camp or Charles James
with the Houston Texans a few years back. The undersized
and perhaps overlooked player is aHard Knocks staple. Renfrow’s been a source
of comic relief on the show, but don’t laugh too hard ’cause this dude’s all business
on the football field. ♪ (MUSIC PLAYS) ♪ Every week
on theHard Knocks Podcast,I pick an MVP of the episode,
and this week, it’s a trio of players,
co-MVPs if you will. If you ever wondered
about the hard-hitting, next-level discussions
that players have on the sidelines during a game,
rookie Johnathan Abram and linebackers Tahir Whitehead
and Vontaze Burfict gave us the details on
a very important football topic: Chewing gum. And the dangers
of swallowing it. They’re doing all this
while a football game is going on
right in front of them. TAHIR WHITEHEAD:
I get cottonmouth
when I have my mouthpiece.
-That’s why I chew gum.
I got the gum–
That gum gonna taste too good
’cause I start swallowing it.
-Then I ain’t have no gum.
You don’t swallow no damn gum.
Man, I swallow all my gum.

-ABRAM:I swallow all my gum.BURFICT:I can only have it in
my mouth for like two minutes.
This shit like rubber.

-BURFICT:You shit it out.WHITEHEAD:
No, that shit terrible.
BURFICT:You ever shit
and it like hurt?
WHITEHEAD:You gon’ be
fucking constipated.
ABRAM:That’s why you go
get you an enema.
-WHITEHEAD:Hell naw.
-ABRAM: (CHUCKLING)An enema.-An enema.
-BURFICT:I don’t even know
what that shit is.
ABRAM:Where they supposed
to take the old fool’s pudding.
WHITEHEAD:I was about–
I don’t know
if you said it right.
You say sal-mon, so.
I can’t trust you.Jonathan Abram
may never live down that salmon-sal-mon
conversation from the first week of the show. That might follow him
his entire career. ♪ (MUSIC PLAYS) ♪ In addition to an MVP,
or in this case, our MVPs, each episode, I wrap the show by giving you something
I’m fascinated by and think is worth tracking
over the next week, and in this week’s case, it’s how
this Oakland Raiders team will handle a big
international road trip. Yes, they are headed to Canada,
Winnipeg to be exact, to play the Packers
in a preseason game, and as much as I am curious
about the action on the field, I wanna see
all of the conversations off of it as well. Does getting out of that
Northern California bubble bond this team together
even more, or do we see some cracks
in the chemistry? Yes, they’ve had one road trip
to Phoenix already, but the Raiders,
and really the NFL, are not familiar
with the city of Winnipeg. ‘Cause this isn’t a normal trip. The Raiders
are coming to Canada, and I wanna see how
the 2019Hard Knocks team handles
this international journey. Big personalities
like Jonathan Abram and Richie Incognito
are hitting Manitoba! Are the Raiders fans
in Canada excited? Are there Raiders fans
in Canada? What is the energy
gonna be like on the field, in the stands,
and in the streets? Hey, is Antonio Brown
even coming with them? I love all this stuff, and
I love the international flavor that we’ll be getting next week
onHard Knocks.♪ (“HARD KNOCKS” THEME PLAYS) ♪ And that’s it
for this week’s episode of theHard Knocks Podcast.This show was produced
by HBO Sports, NFL Films, and Pineapple Street Media. Also, check out theHard Knocks
Instagram page, at HardKnocksHBO. There’s amazing stuff on there,
includingHard Knocks Nowwhich shares daily updates
from Raiders training camp. You can check out even more
Hard Knocks
content with Dan Hanzus’sHard Knocks
recaps on and the podcast
Harder Knocks,
colon,Training Camp with Hard Knocks,
colon,Training Camp(CHUCKLES)
with the Oakland Raiders.
I love that title,
and I love those guys. I was on their podcast
this week. Also, we want to hear from you,
the listeners. So tweet me at PSchrags.
That’s P-S-C-H-R-A-G-S. I’m your host, Peter Schrager.
Make sure to watch episode four ofHard Knocks on HBO
next Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern. You can find theHard Knocks
on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, wherever
you listen to your podcasts. And don’t forget to rate,
review, and to subscribe. We’ll be back with a new episode
next week. -Thanks for listening, everyone.

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