Photo: Ben Margot / Associated Press
Image 1 12
Antonio Brown has yet to play a single game for the Oakland Raiders, but has apparently created a career’s worth of drama in just a few months.
The wide receiver hasn’t been practicing after suffering severe foot blistering that was reportedly caused by going into a cryotherapy machine without proper footwear, and the saga took another weird turn on Friday.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday afternoon that Brown filed a grievance against the NFL to be allowed to wear a helmet that is no longer certified by the NFL. Brown wore that particular helmet in all nine of his professional seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the league is no longer permitting that helmet to be worn since it is over 10 years old.
Things got stranger when NFL.com’s Michael Silver reported that Brown “alarmed Raiders coaches and teammates” prior to injuring his feet by “railing against the NFL’s enhanced enforcement of helmet regulations.”
“According to four sources familiar with Brown’s current absence from camp, which dates back to late last week, Raiders coaches and players are concerned that the receiver’s unhappiness regarding the helmet issue may be playing a role in his decision to stay away from Napa,” Silver tweeted.
A reporter from a Pittsburgh NBC affiliate reported earlier on Friday that Brown had gone “radio silent” on the Raiders.
Silver reported that Brown’s absence and his anger over the helmet rules have “created a buzz among teammates.”
One ESPN source referred to the saga as “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.”
If that’s not enough drama for you, Silver’s reporting continued and got even weirder.
According to Silver, when Brown showed up for the Raiders’ first offseason training activity in May, he requested his old helmet, only to storm out of the facility after being denied.
“After being told he’d have to wear an approved model, witnesses say, the WR loudly voiced his displeasure, complaining QBs such as [Tom] Brady and [Aaron] Rodgers were not being subjected to the same scrutiny,” Silver tweeted. “Shortly thereafter, Brown stormed out of the facility in protest. Later that day, Raiders officials found video footage of Rodgers, during the Green Bay Packers’ OTA session, wearing an approved-model helmet and texted it to Brown.”
Silver said Brown showed up the next day and “acted like nothing had happened,” while practicing in his new league-approved helmet. But after a while, he apparently decided to try to take matters into his own hands.
“Sometime in the next couple of weeks, Brown once again tried to take the field with his old helmet, which he had since had repainted with colors approximating—but not completely mimicking—the Raiders’ silver-and-black design,” Silver tweeted.
If this is already too crazy for you, stop reading now, because it’s about to get even crazier.
During Raiders training camp last week, Silver said Brown “tried yet again to sneak his old helmet” onto the field before being told to remove it by team officials.
“He’s still freaking out about it,” one Raiders player told Silver. “He hasn’t been here for awhile, and no one knows where he’s at.”
And the final nugget of information from Silver? Brown has apparently “frustrated his new bosses by showing up late to numerous meetings and by often appearing unfocused in them.”
Witnesses told Silver that Brown is often on his phone during team meetings, and can be seen “perusing his bank accounts” and “liking photos on Instagram.”
Shortly after Silver’s Twitter thread went viral, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Brown informed the Raiders that “unless he gets to wear his old helmet, he will not play football again.”
According to Schefter, Brown believes his new helmet “protrudes out and interferes with his vision as he tries to catch football.” The wide receiver reportedly spoke with league officials for two hours on Friday in an attempt to persuade them he should be allowed to wear his old helmet. A decision could reportedly come as early as next week.
This story is developing and will be updated as more information is made available.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/raiders/article/Antonio-Brown-helmet-feet-injury-teammates-drama-14293829.php.