Will Antonio Brown actually hang up his helmet -- yes, that helmet -- for good if the NFL doesn't acquiesce to his desire?
The Raiders star receiver reportedly has informed the team he will not play football again unless he is allowed to wear the same helmet he did during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That model, the Schutt Air Advantage, only received an "adequate" rating from the safety lab at Virginia Tech and no longer is being produced. Due to new league rules, players aren't allowed to wear helmets that are older than 10 years. Brown had a one-year grace period to find a new helmet but feels the new ones affect his vision.
Brown reportedly had a two-hour conference call with the NFL on Friday to plead his case. The Raiders have been sending him new helmets to try out but he is not interested in those.
In case you're wondering if Brown is bluffing, the star receiver hinted at his willingness to walk away in an Instagram caption of the "NFL 100" video he posted Friday.
"If I leave ..." All right.
Brown, who nicknamed himself Mr. Big Chest this offseason while sporting a blonde mustache, previously noted he would have no problem walking away from the game in an interview with ESPN's Jeff Darlington.
Antonio Brown: "I don't even have to play football if I don't want. I don't even need the game. … Obviously I want the game but I don't need the game."— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) March 2, 2019
AB out here doing everything to kill his trade value for the Steelers pic.twitter.com/bdsCKd3yIp
The Raiders and Brown agreed to a four-year, $50.125 million contract when they acquired the receiver in March, and that's a lot of money to leave on the table.
Brown only has practiced in part of one training camp session this offseason. Most believe his absence was due to a reported case of "extreme frostbite" on his feet, but it appears it mainly is due to the rules forcing him to change helmets. The four-time All-Pro reportedly has gone "radio silent" with the Raiders since he left Napa.
The Raiders knew with AB comes drama, they just didn't think it would come this soon.
Antonio Brown hints at willingness to leave football in Instagram post originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area