Antonio Brown may have solved his helmet dilemma, at least for this year.
Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for the unhappy Raiders wide receiver, told Pro Football Talk on Tuesday that Brown was able to corral “a few” versions of his favored helmet that were manufactured in 2010. That date is key because, under safety rules agreed upon by the league and the NFL Players Association, no player can use a helmet that is more than 10 years old.
Brown has worn the same model, a Schutt AiR Advantage, throughout his 10-year career, but it is no longer allowed in the NFL and has not been made by the company for eight years. The issue is so important to him that he tried to have the one he brought with him from Pittsburgh painted in the colors of his new team.
Brown also filed a grievance with the NFL, asking to be allowed to continue wearing the helmet, but he was denied Monday by an arbitrator. However, something of a loophole emerged when Brown was told that he can use that model of Schutt helmet if he can find one that is less than 10 years old. At that point, Brown has did what anyone desperate for an item that is no longer manufactured might do — he asked his Twitter followers.
“I’m looking for a Schutt Air Advantage Adult Large Helmet that was manufactured in 2010 or after,” the wide receiver tweeted Tuesday morning.
And just what would he be willing to give up for this?
“In exchange I will trade a signed practice worn @Raiders helmet,” he wrote.
The helmets will still need to be reconditioned and submitted for approval to the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association, and then the NFL will still need to sign off on the equipment, per reports.
“So, it’s all reasonable,” Rosenhaus told ESPN. "I mean, it’s all very plausible.
“Understand that this is a guy that’s worn this helmet for nine years. He’s taken a million hits and he’s been healthy and one of the most durable players ever at his position. So you can understand why he’d want to continue to wear that helmet. It’s very important to him. It’s a big part of his safety. ... The Schutt Air Advantage is what he’s worn his whole life.”
If all goes well, and Brown can get his hands on a AiR Advantage or two made in 2011, then he could be set for the next two years. No word yet on if Brown actually handed over a few practice-worn Raiders helmet in exchange for his beloved Schutt models, or why he put his entire tweet in quote marks.
In the meantime, the seven-time Pro Bowler is better able to focus on the other weird story that has enveloped his training camp: the condition of his feet, which he reportedly burned in a cryotherapy chamber.
“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,” he tweeted Monday. “I’m excited about this season appreciate all the concerns about my feet!”
Of presumably greater excitement to the Raiders was the sight Tuesday of their would-be offensive centerpiece finally reporting back to training camp.
“I’m extremely grateful to be here,” Brown said, according to ESPN. “Been dealing with a lot of adversity. I’m excited to be back, see my teammates, and get in the groove of things.”
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