First it was Antonio Brown’s feet that made information. Now it’s his head.
Brown, the star receiver who joined the Raiders this 12 months, seems to have misplaced an ongoing dispute about his helmet. Briefly, Brown prefers to put on the make of helmet he has been sporting for years, however the N.F.L. says that sort, now 10 years outdated, is now not authorized.
On Monday an arbitrator dominated in opposition to Brown’s grievance.
“Whereas I disagree with the arbitrator’s choice,” Brown wrote on Instagram, “I’m engaged on getting again to full well being and searching ahead to rejoining my teammates on the sector. I’m enthusiastic about this season admire all of the considerations about my toes.”
For individuals who missed it, the well being situation Brown referred to is blistering and peeling of his toes, which has stored him out of coaching camp. It emerged final week that the damage was frostbite, attributable to a trip to a cryogenic therapy chamber.
There are conflicting studies about why Brown prefers the outdated helmet, and he has stored comparatively silent about it. One principle being put ahead is that the brand new helmet impacts his imaginative and prescient, whereas different studies say it’s extra of a consolation situation. There have been additionally studies that Brown went as far as to threaten to retire if he couldn’t put on his helmet of selection, although his assertion Monday appeared to indicate that he deliberate to return.
The league has phased out outdated helmets as a result of they don’t meet new requirements of security. Gamers got a one-year grace interval, however that expires this season. A couple of dozen gamers, together with Tom Brady, continued to put on outdated helmets final 12 months.
Brady has additionally expressed a desire for the outdated helmet, saying on WEEI: “I don’t actually love the one which I’m in, however I don’t have a lot of a selection.”
NFL.com had maybe the wildest and most full account of Brown’s helmet situation. The reporter Michael Silver stated that at organized group actions within the spring, Brown tried a number of instances to sneak onto the sector in an outdated helmet, even going as far as to have it repainted within the Raiders’ design.
Coach Jon Gruden of the Raiders stood by Brown, saying Saturday: “This foot damage wasn’t his fault. This was a complete accident. It actually wasn’t his fault, and it’s a severe damage.”
“The helmet factor is a private matter to him. He has a powerful feeling about what he’s worn on his head, and we’re supporting him. And we perceive the league’s place as effectively, so we’re in a troublesome spot.”
The Raiders are being featured this 12 months on “Exhausting Knocks,” the HBO and N.F.L. Movies fly-on-the-wall documentary collection that yearly takes a detailed take a look at one N.F.L. group. The second episode was to be broadcast Tuesday evening, and the varied Brown sagas would appear possible to supply notably fascinating fodder, ought to they be included. Within the first episode, Brown was seen operating sprints at high pace regardless of coaches urging him to decelerate due to the damage to his toes.
After 9 years with the Steelers, seven of them as a Professional Bowler, Brown was traded to the Raiders in March. He is because of make a assured $30 million over the following three years. There’s nonetheless no formal timetable for his return to follow.
And when Brown does return, it now appears as if he must put on a brand new make of helmet. Or will he? On Tuesday morning Brown appeared to have a brand new tactic in thoughts when he wrote on Twitter: “I’m searching for a Schutt Air Benefit Grownup Giant Helmet that was manufactured in 2010 or after. In alternate I’ll commerce a signed follow worn @Raiders helmet.”