In what has become one of the most bizarre stories in recent years, it was announced Monday that an arbitrator has ruled against Antonio Brown’s appeal to wear his old helmet.
Reports of a possible rift between Brown and the Raiders was reported on Friday when Mike Silver released a series of tweets detailing Brown’s unhappiness and unwillingness to follow the NFL’s enhanced enforcement of helmet guidelines.
The Raiders new star receiver was on a list of 31 players that included Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers who were notified by the league a year ago that the change was coming. Still, Brown tried his hardest to resist the change, even painting his old helmet to match the new model.
Brown supposedly even went as far as threatening to retire from football if he was not allowed to wear the same model helmet as he had for his previous nine seasons in the league.
Luckily for Jon Gruden and the Raiders it sounds like this might all be coming to an end very soon. After the news of the appeal being denied was released on Monday, Brown put out a tweet putting to bed any thoughts of a retirement.
"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. I'm excited about this season appreciate all the concerns about my feet !” #AlwaysAFight #Represent #itsbiggerthanme— AB (@AB84) August 12, 2019
Following Saturday’s preseason opener, Gruden offered support for Brown both with his injury and his helmet greivance.
“He’s hurt. He’s innocent, he didn’t do anything wrong, and the helmet thing is a personal matter for him,” Gruden said of Brown. “He has a strong feeling about what he’s wearing on his head and we’re supporting him. We understand the league’s position as well so we’re in a tough spot. And we hope Antonio is back here soon because he’s exciting to be around. I’m excited. I got some plays for him I hope we can start calling them.”
Update: The NFL may have denied AB’s appeal, but there is a loophole. They have approved that he can use the Schutt AIR Advantage helmet (the one he likes) if he can find one that is less than ten years old.
Per source NFL has approved this approach. Brown now must find a Schutt AiR Advantage that is less than 10 years old, and that fits him. https://t.co/H8EeGvH4iV— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 13, 2019