What a difference a day makes. Saturday Jon Gruden and Derek Carr were ecstatic about Antonio Brown participating in walk-thrus and both talked with near certainty that Brown would continue to be a full participant in practice and full speed ahead to the season.
Then came the NFL saying that all of Antonio Brown’s efforts to dig up a Schutt Air Advantage helmet were for not because they aren’t going to allow him to wear it. The next day, we were once again without Antonio Brown at practice.
As you might expect the Raiders are NOT happy about it. Mike Mayock stood in front of the media to make a statement only with no questions. And he threw down the gauntlet.
“You all know that AB is not here today,” said Mayock. “So, here is the bottom line; he’s upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that, we appreciate that. But we’ve at this point we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So, from our perspective, it’s time for him to be all in or all out. So, we’re hoping he’s back soon. We’ve got 89 guys busting their tails. We’re really excited about where this franchise is going and we hope AB is going to be a big part of it starting week one against Denver. End of story.”
Mayock’s bottom line tells us that all the talk from his agent Drew Rosenehaus and Jon Gruden and Brown himself about his absence being purely about his feet may not have been entirely true. And likewise the reports that he wasn’t practicing over the helmet issue had some truth to it.
This feeds right into all the narratives that Antonio Brown is a diva. And even with a player as great as he is, there’s only so far a team will go in support for his demands. It also confirms that the idea that being at camp is not a big deal is also false. It is a big deal. Anyone who tells you it isn’t, is trying to pander to you as a fan and make you feel better.
It matters. Him being here working and preparing for the season along with his teammates matters. And we just went through the Raiders’ entire training camp without him suiting up for a single full practice.