Antonio Brown’s grievance to wear old helmet denied by arbitrator, says he’ll rejoin Raiders

An arbitrator has ruled against Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown regarding his grievance to wear his old helmet, according to multiple reports. Brown has since confirmed that ruling with a statement on Instagram, where he also notes he’ll rejoin his teammates. 

“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,” Brown said. “I’m excited about this season appreciate all the concerns about my feet!”

The road to get to this point with Brown has certainly been a windy one. The former Steelers receiver made waves last week after it was revealed that he was using his old helmet that has since been banned by the NFL

While it ultimately proved to be lip service, Brown’s camp did threaten to retire if he wasn’t allowed to wear the now-obsolete helmet, which would have left the Raiders on the hook with his gargantuan cap hit for the next few seasons. Head coach Jon Gruden put his support behind Brown over the weekend in his efforts to be able to wear his helmet and did say that he was “confident he’s going to be a huge factor for the Raiders for years to come.”

Since the ruling that his grievance had been denied, Pro Football Talk reports that the NFL, the Raiders and Brown’s representatives have been in contact and the league has approved the receiver wearing his desired helmet model — a Schutt AiR Advantage. 

The stipulation is that he needs to find one that fits him, is in good condition and less than 10 years old. Schutt stopped making the AiR Advantage in 2011, so there are some helmets out there that would be within the 10-year limit. Brown simply needs to find one and it needs to be in proper condition. At this point, Brown’s camp has not been able to find one, but, if he does, the league will allow him to wear it. 

With that situation somewhat resolved, Brown’s feet once again take center stage as he continues to recover from them being extremely frostbitten after entering a cryotherapy machine wearing improper footwear. 

Hopefully, it will soon just be about football with Brown, rather than heads and toes. 

When it does, however, there may be another obstacle to hurdle for the Raiders and their new pass catcher. Andy Benoit of the MMQB joined CBS Sports Senior NFL writer Will Brinson on Monday’s Pick Six Podcast and highlighted some on-field concerns for Brown in Oakland’s offense, specifically on how he meshes with quarterback Derek Carr.  

“Derek Carr is the type of quarterback that needs — he’d be great in a Gase system. He needs his reads defined quickly, early in the down. He’s a comfortable passer, he’s a very talented thrower when he’s comfortable,” Benoit told Brinson. “The problem is when you go out and get an Antonio Brown, you’re paying for Brown — and Tyrell Williams is the same way, the guy they got from the Chargers — those guys win at the deeper intermediate levels. They win on big routes, post patterns, go routes, improvised routes if you get outside the pocket, Brown’s always very good at uncovering, you have to be if you play with [Ben] Roethlisberger.

“That style of wide receiver doesn’t match up to a quarterback that needs to have the ball out quickly and find a rhythm that way. I’m not saying you can’t throw the ball quickly to Brown — we know the Steelers did a ton of receiver screens — but that’s not a foundation to your offense.”

That’s a legit concern highlighted by Benoit and will be one worth following closely once Brown actually is able to get on the field with thawed out feet and a new helmet in hand. 

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