NAPA, Calif. — Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown has filed a second grievance against the NFL in an attempt to wear his preferred helmet.
“Pro Football Talk” was the first to report the news Monday. It reported that Brown is now arguing he should be provided the same right as other players in terms of having a one-year grace period to phase out using his helmet. He is claiming the NFL is arbitrarily applying its rules.
Brown lost a grievance Aug. 12 to wear his desired helmet — the Schutt Air Advantage — because it was more than 10 years old. He apparently found newer Schutt Air Advantage helmets but has been told he cannot wear them.
The nine-year veteran, in his first season with the Raiders, reacted to hearing that specific news over the weekend by retweeting a report from “Pro Football Talk” and said, in part, “Super Prejudice unbelievable!”
Brown did not attend Sunday’s practice, but was back for a team meeting Monday morning, according to a team source, a day after Raiders general manager Mike Mayock issued an ultimatum for him to be “all in or all out.”
That prompted a response from Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who said Monday that he disagrees with Mayock’s assessment that all avenues of relief have been exhausted for Brown to potentially continue wearing his preferred helmet.
Brown and the Raiders were not available for comment Monday.
The Raiders broke training camp in Napa on Monday and will have a full practice at the team’s headquarters in Alameda, California, on Tuesday before traveling to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on Wednesday for the team’s third preseason game, against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday.
Brown’s presence at the Monday meeting could be a sign that his helmet issue is nearing its conclusion.
But there have been similar signs before.
Brown was expected to practice Sunday after his participation in the Raiders’ two walk-through sessions Saturday. But when he didn’t, Mayock issued an impromptu statement in the middle of the practice, saying Brown was not there because he was upset over the helmet issue.
Rosenhaus then appeared on WSVN in South Florida on Sunday night and ESPN’s “Get Up” on Monday morning, saying he, Brown and the organization are still looking to find a solution that works for everyone.
“We are working together,” Rosenhaus said. “We understand the club’s frustration. We understand that they want Antonio back. We get all of that. And everyone please understand that he wants to be there. It is difficult for him to practice, take hits, whatever, with a piece of equipment that he’s never used before. And so that’s why we’re trying to iron this out, so it can go smoothly the rest of the season. We’re looking for a permanent solution.”
Rosenhaus also said he talked to Mayock multiple times Sunday and that the two were on the same page.
Brown didn’t play in Thursday’s preseason game at the Arizona Cardinals, but he participated in pregame warmups — wearing a helmet. He appeared to be sporting a different helmet than his preferred model.
Rosenhaus said even though he has been told that there are 2,000 players wearing approved helmets, “there are very few — if any — that have worn the same helmet their entire nine-year career.”
But high-profile players such as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers are among those who have recently had to change their helmets.
And Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said Saturday that he made a change in anticipation of his previous headgear being discontinued.
“I was like, ‘Man, I don’t want to have to deal with that in the future,’ trying to find one, and things like that,” Carr said.
While Carr said his vision isn’t necessarily impacted by different types of helmets, he can understand how that would be different for receivers.
That’s part of why Rosenhaus told ESPN that this is a complicated matter for Brown.
“The helmet is the most important piece of equipment, and he’s had the same one every single snap he’s played in his football career,” Rosenhaus said. “This is a major issue for him.”
With three weeks left until the Raiders begin the regular season against the Denver Broncos on “Monday Night Football,” it has become a major issue for the organization, too.