After a weekend full of speculation, it seems that the Raiders won’t lose their new star wide receiver.
Antonio Brown posted on social media Monday after an arbitrator ruled against his grievance to wear his old helmet that he didn’t agree with the decision but he was excited to rejoin his teammates once he was back to full health.
Last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter posted on Twitter that Brown was threatening to retire from football if he can’t use his old helmet, which is no longer certified for use by the NFL.
And now this: Raidersâ WR Antonio Brown has told team officials that, unless he gets to wear his old helmet, he will not play football again, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 9, 2019
But Deadspin’s Ray Ratto didn’t buy it.
“Antonio Brown is too good a player to flame out like this, and too cartoony a character to be flamed out like this,” he said. “It’s August 12. The games anyone cares about are still three weeks away. This saga cannot end now.”
During the team’s training camp in Napa, California, Brown has been visibly absent from a majority of practices, missing 10 of 11 sessions entirely. Brown started training camp placed on the nonfootball injury list over a foot injury, that was highlighted during the first episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”
But a Twitter thread from ESPN’s Mike Silver detailed issues with Brown and the Raiders that go beyond his feet.
THREAD: 1) Even before suffering bizarre injuries to his feet, Antonio Brown alarmed Raiders coaches and teammates by railing against the NFLâs enhanced enforcement of helmet regulations, a policy change which will likely force the star receiver to switch to a new model…
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) August 9, 2019
Silver’s thread highlights problems that Raiders have been experiencing with Brown during training camp, going back to his unhappiness with his inability to use his old helmet. The NFL recently deemed his current helmet, which he’s used since 2010, too old to be used.
“According to four sources familiar with Brown’s current absence from camp…Raiders coaches and players are concerned that the receiver’s unhappiness regarding the helmet issues may be playing a role in his decision to stay away from Napa,” Silver tweets.
Silver continues to say that Brown stormed out of practice in protest after being refused his old helmet by the equipment manager. Days later, he tried to sneak his old helmet back onto the field, before being told to remove it.
While Helmetgate unfolded on social media on Friday, “Hard Knocks” was on the minds of quite a few people, and how the new storyline could play out on HBO’s hit series.
“I can only imagine what Gruden is thinking about all this and in fact I hope and pray that the “Hard Knocks” cameras and microphones were near him when he was hearing about these tweets,” Tim Kawakami said in a column for The Athletic.
“Antonio Brown saying he won’t play football if he can’t wear the helmet he likes has to be a made-up story for “Hard Knocks,” Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis said on Twitter.
Antonio Brown saying he wonât play football if he canât wear the helmet he likes â which is now banned because itâs unsafe â has to be a made up story for Hard Knocks. Either that or he already has CTE.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 9, 2019
Some on social media are offering solutions for Brown.
“No one is forcing Brown to play football,” NBC Sports’ Mike Florio said. “If he wants to retire, he can retire. If he wants to play in the NFL, he has to use one of the approved helmets. If he wants to play football in his old helmet, he can go to the XFL.”
“If he signs a waiver with full understanding on the potential consequences and waives his right to sue, let him wear the old helmet,” Sports Medical Analyst for SiriusXM David J. Chao said.
— David J. Chao (@ProFootballDoc) August 10, 2019
Others are calling his bluff.
“If Antonio Brown did indeed walk away from Football, he’d also be walking away from about a $30,000,000 guarantee from the Raiders,” ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum said. “I’m certain he’ll find a helmet that will work for him.”
If Antonio Brown did indeed walk away from Football, heâd also be walking away from about a $30,000,000 guarantee from the Raiders, Iâm certain heâll find a helmet that will work for him. https://t.co/WC4DfUdpDJ
— Mike Tannenbaum (@RealTannenbaum) August 10, 2019
NFL media’s Jim Trotter says there is ZERO chance Brown retires over helmet issues.
“Can we please find another storyline? We have a long season to go.”
Antonio Brown may be upset about not being able to wear his older-model helmet, but there is ZERO chance he retires because of it. So can we please find another storyline? We have a long season to go.
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) August 10, 2019