Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown Loses Second Grievance

Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown has lost his second helmet-related grievance, per Pro Football Talk (via Twitter). AB will wear a league-approved helmet in 2019 and beyond (Twitter link).

This was the expected outcome, and the ruling should resolve this issue once and for all. Brown has been practicing and seems to be past the foot malady he suffered during a cryotherapy mishap, so Raiders fans just have to cross their fingers and hope that Brown has put his off-field matters behind him.

Indeed, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says that no further proceedings are expected (Twitter link). Pro Football Talk tweets that Brown is close to selecting a new helmet, and that it will be a custom-made model. Brown is also going to get an endorsement deal from the maker, so, once again, AB lands jelly-side up.

The 31-year-old wideout has not played this preseason, though he is expected to be ready to go for Week 1. The Raiders are not favored to make the playoffs this year, but this year’s “Hard Knocks” outfit should at least be interesting to watch.

The club opens the season at home against the Broncos on September 9.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Brown Ruling To Come Next Week

For the second time this month, an independent arbitrator has concluded a grievance hearing regarding Antonio Brown‘s helmet (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). A ruling is expected to come next week, according to one source.

This seemingly minor issue has had – and may still have – major implications for Brown and the Raiders. The NFL barred Brown from playing with his beloved Schutt AiR Advantage helmet and the wide receiver reportedly walked out of training camp due to his dissatisfaction. Later, agent Drew Rosenhaus claimed that Brown’s absence was actually due to the malady he sustained while receiving cryotherapy treatment.

Brown is now back in camp and practicing with a certified helmet, but there’s no telling what could happen next with the mercurial star if he does not win his second grievance. The 31-year-old has not suited up for preseason action in the midst of all of this and it not be a shock if he were to change course yet again before the start of the season.

The Raiders open their season in Oakland on Sept. 9 against the Broncos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Brown Practicing In Certified Helmet

Raiders GM Mike Mayock expressed his frustrations with Antonio Brown over the weekend, and he implied that he wouldn’t entertain Brown’s drama much longer. Mayock said, “[h]e’s upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that; we appreciate that. At this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. From our perspective, it’s time for him to be all-in or all-out.”

Whether Mayock’s words were the impetus behind it or not, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Brown — who reported to practice on Monday, though the club’s walk-through was ultimately canceled — practiced today with a certified helmet (Twitter link). Obviously, that’s a good sign for the Raiders, as it suggests that even if Brown loses his second helmet-related grievance, he will play nicely and go along with whatever headgear the league tells him he must wear.

Speaking of that second grievance, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that an arbitrator will hear Brown’s case on Friday, so this matter should be wrapped up fairly quickly. But since Brown is involved, it’s hard to say for certain.

Brown, of course, had been trying to have his prized Schutt AiR Advantage helmet certified by the league, and Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic says that the NFL’s Canadian testing lab has ordered some 2011 Schutt helmets from Virginia Tech (Twitter link). Earlier reports suggested that a 2011 Schutt AiR Advantage failed safety testing, but perhaps the league is attempting to compromise by finding AB a different model from the same maker.

We should have some more clarity after Friday’s hearing, but you can probably expect to hear more Brown-related reports in the meantime.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Brown Files Grievance Against NFL

Antonio Brown may have reported to Raiders practice today, but the drama is far from over. Pro Football Talk reports (via Twitter) that the star wideout has filed a second grievance against the NFL for their unwillingness to let him wear his desired helmet. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the grievance will be heard on “an expedited basis.”

Specifically, Brown is upset that the league won’t let him wear any “Schutt AiR Advantage helmet less than 10 years old.” Rapoport tweets that the receiver believes “he should be afforded the same right provided to other NFL players to have a 1-year grace period to phase out his helmet in 2019 season.” Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes that the NFL allowed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to play last season with a helmet that wasn’t deemed safe.

The 31-year-old’s first grievance against the NFL ended with an arbitrator ruling against the wideout. As our own Zach Links detailed, Brown’s preferred helmet is too old to be re-certified, and this means the helmet is not sanctioned by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. Brown had previously threatened to retire if the league would not let him wear his preferred headgear.

Brown showed up at the Raiders’ facility Monday morning and was in attendance for the daily team meeting. The wideout has put the Raiders through the ringer in recent weeks. A cryotherapy mishap left the wide receiver with a foot injury, which was believed to have been the cause of his training camp absence. Instead, the no-show was attributed to the helmet dispute.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Brown Reports To Raiders

The Antonio Brown soap opera could be winding down. On Monday, the Raiders’ star wide receiver reported to practice, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

[RELATED: Drew Rosenhaus Downplays Antonio Brown’s Absence]

Brown showed up at the Raiders’ facility Monday morning and was in attendance for the daily team meeting. The club’s walk-through practice was canceled, but Brown is back in the building and, ostensibly, ready to get to work.

The mercurial Brown has put the Raiders through the ringer in recent weeks. A cryotherapy mishap left the wide receiver with a foot injury, which was believed to have been the cause of his training camp absence. Then, we learned that Brown was actually staying away because the NFL barred him from wearing his favorite helmet. Brown is still awaiting the outcome of tests to his prized Schutt AiR Advantage headgear, but it now seems like he’s on the right track to suit up in September.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Drew Rosenhaus On Raiders’ Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown missed another practice on Sunday, but Drew Rosenhaus is doing his darndest to keep the hysteria to a minimum. On Monday morning, Rosenhaus went on WSVN-TV’s “Sports Xtra” to discuss the Raiders star. 

[RELATED: Antonio Brown Misses Another Raiders Practice]

We have worked very closely with the Raiders, and will continue to work very closely with the Raiders,” Rosenhaus said. “I’m not sure we agree that we’ve exhausted all the options, as [Raiders GM] Mike Mayock said, but there’s no doubt it’s still an ongoing process. We are trying to work with the team and the league and the union on a solution. We haven’t figured that out yet.

To say that AB is upset about the decision to not let him wear his helmet is accurate, but we’re still processing it and figuring it out. I wouldn’t make too much about him not being there today, as much as we’re still trying to come up with a solution that works for everyone.”

The league is allowing Brown to find a version of the Schutt AiR Advantage helmet that can pass rigorous NOCSAE testing, but it’s not clear if he’ll be able to get clearance on his favorite headgear.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Chiefs, Brown, Bolts, Rams

Andy Reid has worked with an MVP before (Brett Favre) and coached Pro Bowlers in Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Alex Smith. But Chiefs GM Brett Veach makes the case the seventh-year Kansas City HC has never had the kind possibilities for creativity, without limitations, that Patrick Mahomes provides.

I think Andy understands that the talent he has in this kid is like nothing he’s ever had before,” Veach said, via Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star. “Not to say he didn’t have good quarterbacks before, not to say he didn’t have a great rapport or relationship with them, but I think Andy’s creativity is not restricted now in any way, not by mental, not by arm strength, not by mobility. Because sometimes you get super-smart guys, and maybe they don’t have this … or you get guys that don’t have this, but they have that.”

Over the course of Reid’s Chiefs tenure, he has steadily incorporated college concepts into his offense. He helped coax the best season of Smith’s career in 2017, but Mahomes’ runaway MVP season obviously established a new bar for the Reid offense’s modern capabilities. In Pryor’s expansive article detailing the relationship between Reid and Mahomes, Veach adds the 21st-year HC not having to scrap any of his play designs separates his partnership with Mahomes.

Here is the latest out of the West divisions, continuing first with (a given) the Antonio Brown saga:

  • Brown is about out of options, and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (on Twitter) Mike Mayock‘s comments Sunday set the stage for potential Raiders discipline if the mercurial receiver does not practice soon. Another Brown option: a lawsuit that would allow him an injunction, thus enabling him for a time to wear his old helmet while the case plays out. That would be a rather extreme response, especially coming after a report indicating Brown was unlikely to appeal the arbitrator’s decision. But that was before NFL- and NFLPA-backed testing struck down Brown’s 2011 Schutt AiR Advantage helmet solution bid failed. Brown could still appeal, but it does not seem probable he would prevail. The Raiders’ dress-rehearsal game is Thursday; it is quite possible, if not likely, Brown will not play in the preseason.
  • Derwin James‘ absence will test the Chargers, but it makes their March re-signing of Adrian Phillips all the more important. The sixth-year safety/All-Pro special-teamer made a big difference playing as a hybrid linebacker in the Chargers’ Round 1 win over the Ravens, and Eric Williams of ESPN.com notes he will receive first crack at replacing James. Phillips (94 tackles in 2018 before a two-turnover wild-card performance) started Sunday’s preseason game against the Saints.
  • The contract-year statuses of Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters may force the Rams to consider the big picture when finalizing their roster. Les Snead could well keep an extra corner this season because of the potential 2020 departures of the team’s starting corners, Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic writes (subscription required). In addition to Talib and Peters, slot starter Nickell Robey-Coleman, Troy Hill and third-round pick David Long will be roster locks. That leaves one or two spots left for a host of players who have shown well in camp, with Bonsignore singling out 2018 waiver claim Darious Williams and 2017 UDFA Kevin Peterson as the leaders to round out the corner corps. The latter missed all of 2018 due to injury, but both players have had standout camps. In addition to the Colts, Patriots and Saints, the Rams may begin receiving trade calls on some corners.

Latest On Raiders, Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown missed another Raiders practice on Sunday. While Brown is still dealing with feet issues, Mike Mayock confirmed this latest absence was related to his helmet. The Raiders’ supportive tone has shifted.

He’s upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that; we appreciate that,” Mayock said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (video link). “At this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. From our perspective, it’s time for him to be all-in or all-out.”

The first-year GM reiterated hope Brown will be a major part of this new Raider regime’s attempt at a bounce-back season, but the team is clearly frustrated with its trade acquisition’s recent antics. An arbitrator ruled in favor of the NFL regarding Brown’s helmet grievance, and despite the four-time All-Pro finding a slightly newer model of his since-discontinued helmet, he’s been informed it failed an NOCSAE test.

Mayock’s comments run counter to Jon Gruden‘s last weekend. Oakland’s HC expressed support for Brown on both the helmet and foot fronts. A week later, it appears the 31-year-old superstar is testing the limits of another franchise.

The ball will be in Brown’s court. Mayock’s comment comes after the 10th-year wideout said the report of him again threatening to retire was false. We’re back in a holding pattern with Brown, whose holding pattern in Pittsburgh earlier this year led to his Bay Area relocation.

I don’t know where they got that from, or who made that up, either,” Brown said, via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair. “Why would I retire, man? I have a beautiful career. I’m healthy. I love to play the game.”

Brown reported back to the Raiders after his helmet grievance failed. But he has not given up in his interesting quest at headgear continuity. Brown’s camp said this week the Raiders informed Brown if he found a newer model (made since 2010) of the helmet he’s worn throughout his career it could be certified by the NOCSAE, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. It was not. The camp also believes the NFL moved to keep the receiver from wearing a newer model of the helmet, with a 2011 Schutt AiR Advantage model only failing to pass the league’s new safety-based guidelines once Brown caused this stir. Nevertheless, the Schutt AiR Advantage helmet is banned, Bair tweets.

However, the NFL and NFLPA worked together in the process that led to Brown’s latest helmet solution being tested (and failing), Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). The sides jointly said earlier this week the helmet would be tested in the same lab as the other league-approved helmets. Both the league and the union concurred Brown will not be allowed to wear that helmet in games.

While Brown is losing this battle, and is the only player waging it, he is clearly not going down without a fight.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Notes: Brown, Peterman, Good

We’ve got a new twist in the seemingly never-ending Antonio Brown saga. The last we had heard, the NFL had given the Raiders receiver the go-ahead to find a helmet of his usual model that was less than ten years old. The league had told him he would be able to play in it if he could find one less than ten years old, but they apparently changed course and told him the new helmet would still need to be tested, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Brown was able to find “several” of the Schutt AiR Advantage helmets made in the last ten years, but “earlier today, Brown was informed that the helmet failed the test,” Florio writes.

Brown has already reported back to the Raiders, so hopefully this doesn’t cause too much new drama. He had appeared to have gotten over the helmet issue, before this potential loophole came to light. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be the final word on the helmet. The same source told Florio that “we haven’t heard the last of Brown on this issue,” so we should all buckle up. It’s hard to see what his next move would be, although he apparently has at least one more trick up his sleeve. We’ll keep you posted when we find out what it is.

Here’s more from Oakland:

  • Speaking of Brown, he at least seems to be headed in the right direction health-wise. Brown appears to be almost over his foot issue, and Raiders coach Jon Gruden said “I think so, yeah,” when asked earlier today if Brown would be a full participant in practice soon, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. Gruden added that “he took all the reps today in our walkthrough.” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said “you can tell Antonio’s been studying because he came out and didn’t miss a beat,” and that Brown “was a part of everything we did today.” While the helmet issue doesn’t seem to be going away, it looks like Brown’s frostbitten feet won’t be a story moving forward.
  • There’s been a lot of talk about Oakland’s backup quarterbacks this offseason, mostly due to the infamy of Nathan Peterman. Gruden caused quite the uproar a few weeks ago when he heaped praise on Peterman, leading many to believe he had a legitimate shot to become Carr’s primary clipboard holder. That being said, Vic Tafur of The Athletic predicts he’ll end up getting cut in his new 53-man roster projection. Mike Glennon has been impressive during the preseason, so this isn’t too surprising. There’s also a chance the Raiders decide to keep three quarterbacks because of Gruden’s affinity for Peterman. Notably, Tafur also projects veteran receiver Ryan Grant and defensive tackle Justin Ellis, who just got a $15MM extension last offseason, to miss the cut.
  • More good injury news for the Raiders, as guard Denzelle Good has been activated off the PUP list and will return to practice, Tafur tweets. “That’s huge for us,” Gruden said. He’s not wrong, as the Raiders are very thin at guard at the moment. Gabe Jackson is currently sidelined with a knee injury and Richie Incognito is suspended for the first two games of the season, so Oakland will be without both of their starting guards in Week 1. Good started three games at guard for the Raiders last season after being claimed off waivers from the Colts. He’ll now presumably join the competition to fill in for Jackson and Incognito. The Raiders are also said to be exploring the trade market for veteran guards.

AFC Rumors: Clowney, Brady, Brown, Browns

Two franchise-tagged edge defenders changed teams this offseason, with Dee Ford leaving Kansas City and Frank Clark arriving. Trades for tagged players after the July 15 extension deadline are obviously rarer, but John McClain of the Houston Chronicle expects the Texans to deal away Jadeveon Clowney before the season (Twitter link). NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo agrees but wonders (Twitter link) if the talented defender’s Houston departure will instead come in 2020. The 26-year-old edge presence plans to return to his current team in late August.

Clowney is tethered to a $15.9MM cap number, which is a point of contention for the outside linebacker’s camp because of his greater usage as a defensive end, and cannot be extended by any team until after the regular season ends. The Texans discussed a Clowney trade with the Chiefs, but they opted for a Clark deal soon after. McClain cites the team, despite drafting Tytus Howard in Round 1 and signing Matt Kalil, needing a left tackle as a reason Clowney has a better chance of being traded than suiting up for Week 1.

Clowney’s trade value will not be as high as it was before July 15, however, so the Texans would have to factor this into the equation. They could tag him again in 2020 and continue this long-drawn-out process, potentially revving up the tag-and-trade scenario at that point — when they would likely have a GM again.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Although Tom Brady agreed to an in-name-only extension, setting him up for potential 2020 free agency, and put his house on the market, the Patriots quarterback continues to maintain he would like to play past his 45th birthday. That has long been the 42-year-old passer’s goal, and he reiterated it during an appearance on WEEI (via Pro Football Talk) this week. Brady’s post-2019 status, though, is murky.
  • The redone contract Brady agreed to will place a $21.5MM cap number on the Patriots’ books, Nick Underhill of The Athletic tweets. This is down $5.5MM from his previous 2019 cap hold. In doing this, the Patriots, as of Tuesday, possess $15.15MM in cap space (17th-most in the NFL).
  • We have learned plenty about the importance Antonio Brown places on in-game headgear over the past several days. Now, the Raiders receiver is enlisting the help of Twitter followers in hopes of finding a newer brand of his preferred helmet — a Schutt AiR Advantage. The NFL has given Brown the go-ahead here, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, since the NOCSAE could certify a helmet that is less than 10 years old. But it may be difficult for Brown to succeed on this front. This model was discontinued in 2009, per the Toronto Sun’s John Kryk, and a helmet-industry source (we are deep in the weeds here) said any post-production models of this helmet will likely be unavailable so many years later. However, Drew Rosenhaus told Florio his client apparently located “a few” 2010 models and is searching for one from 2011 — to potentially get two more years to wear this type of helmet.
  • Antonio Callaway‘s failed drug test, which will cost him four games, evidently did not occur this offseason. The second-year Browns wide receiver has not failed a test since the end of last season, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Since, the 2018 fourth-round pick has been in a comprehensive drug treatment program. Callaway entered the NFL in stage 1 of the league’s drug treatment program, because of a diluted sample at the Combine — which the Florida alum admitted was an attempt to mask marijuana use — and can be tested up to 10 times per month. Several violations needed to have occurred for him to test positive, per Cabot. Callaway was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession last summer.