The Antonio Brown-helmet saga has reached it’s conclusion…for now. It was reported last week that Brown would stop playing football if he was no longer allowed to wear his old helmet, one that is 10 years old and is no longer approved by the league.
On Monday an arbitrator ruled against Brown’s grievance with the league to wear the helmet, according to Adam Schefter. So, is Brown — arguably the best receiver in the league — going to retire? According to Brown’s social media, the answer is no.
“While I disagree with the arbitrator’s decision, I’m working on getting back to full health and looking forward to rejoining my teammates on the field,” Brown wrote on Twitter and Instagram. “I’m excited about this season appreciate all the concerns about my feet 🦶!”
The NFL has a policy of not allowing players to wear helmets that are not certified by NOCSAE, according to ESPN. NOCSAE’s rule has been that no helmets older than 10 years can be worn.
This all comes on the heels of multiple reports that Brown has gone AWOL while getting treatment on his frostbitten feet. According to a truly insane twitter thread by reporter Mike Silver, the helmet issue has created a disconnect between Brown and the team. Brown has reportedly on three occasions attempted to wear the helmet at practice after being told by the team he’s not allowed to. This included one incident during OTAs where he reacted by storming out of the facility, and another where he had his old helmet painted silver and black in an attempt to fool Raiders officials.
One player told Silver it’s “honestly the most insane thing I have ever heard. I don’t know why it’s so important to him. It doesn’t make any sense.” Brown has also reportedly been consistently late to meetings at the Raiders facility, and when he does attend has appeared distracted.
Following these reports, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden publicly expressed his support for Brown regarding the helmet issue.
“I support this guy. I think that’s what needs to be said,” Gruden told ESPN. “I don’t know what anybody’s writing or what anybody thinks, but this foot injury wasn’t his fault. This was a total accident. It really wasn’t his fault, and it’s a serious injury. I know that some people are [joking about] it, but it’s really not a laughing matter. The guy is hurt, he didn’t do anything wrong, and the helmet thing is a personal matter to him.”