The Oakland Raiders GM Mike Mayock issued an ultimatum to Antonio Brown after the star wide receiver missed practice again over his unhappiness with his helmet.
“Here’s the bottom line: He’s upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that, we appreciate that. But at this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief,” Mayock told reporters on Sunday.
“So, from our perspective, it’s time for him to be all-in or all-out, okay? So, we’re hoping he’s back soon. We’ve got 89 guys busting their tails, we are really excited about where this franchise is going and we hope AB’s going to be a big part of it, starting Week 1 against Denver.”
According to reports, Brown reported to practice on Monday.
Brown has missed much of Raiders training camp this summer. Though he was battlingfrostbite from a cryotherapy machine, Brown was also upset about the NFL banning his preferred helmet. It is now over 10 years old and no longer certified by the National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
According to NFL Network’s Mike Silver, the helmet had been an issue for Brown throughout the offseason, with the Raiders training staff denying him his preferred headgear. This caused Brown to lash out, and he even reportedly tried to paint his old helmet to look like the new ones.
Brown filed a grievance against the NFL to wear his old helmet but was denied. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Brown was threatening not to play if he could not wear his preferred helmet, buthe arrived at training campshortly after the grievance.
Brown has not played in the preseason, but has been running routes and participating in walk-throughs during practice. It appeared Brown was on track to play soon before his recent absence.
Brown’s agent.Drew Rosenhaus, told South Florida’s 7 Sports Extranot to read too much into Brown’s absence.
“We are trying to work with the team and the league and the union to come up with a solution,” Rosenhaus said. “We haven’t figured it 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.”
As the saga has gone on, many in the NFL world have criticized Brown’s behavior. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport noted that Mayock’s comments were about as strong as a GM will ever make about a star player.
Others have noted that Brown’s helmet issue is no different than what other players have gone through.
NBC’s Peter Kingcalled Brown “childish.”
“Brown has been beyond childish about an issue that more than 2,000 players have coped with: wearing only safety-approved helmets in accord with a $60-million initiative in 2016 to ensure that every player wear a helmet that has been approved by a joint NFL/NFLPA testing process. Every team has 63 active and practice-squad players. So 2,015 players (some of whom might be ticked off about it) will start the season wearing approved helmets. One wants to wear a non-approved — and relatively unsafe — helmet. That one is Brown.”
The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami also notedthat high-profile players had made less of an issue about it.
Brown, however, is not the only veteran who has been ordered to switch to a newer helmet this season. Tom Brady has switched helmets. So has Joe Staley. So has Aaron Rodgers. Is Brown supposed to be above a rule that has limited those players’ options, too?
As did ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky.
While Brown showed up on Monday, Rosenhaus said that they are still searching for a resolution to the helmet issue.As Kawakami saidon Monday, it’s possible that “helmetgate” is not yet over.
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