Imagine a month ago hearing this breaking news and it sounding quite important: Antonio Brown practiced with the Oakland Raiders, wearing a certified helmet.
You can follow sports for a long, long time and not hear another story as weird as the one we’re tracking with Brown. As we all know by now, Brown isn’t happy he’s not allowed to use his Schutt AiR Advantage helmet that has been deemed unsafe. He has threatened to not play, filed two grievances and insinuated the league is racist.
So, yes, Brown returning to camp and practicing with an approved helmet actually is news.
Jon Gruden on Antonio Brown: ‘He’s all in’
Try to find another NFL press conference in which a coach was asked about a player’s helmet and whether the helmet he wore is certified by the league.
“It’s a certified helmet,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “He’s all in and ready to go. That’s my understanding. Really happy to have him out here. He’s a great player.”
These were legitimate questions after the latest Brown headlines. After Brown complained about the latest ruling against him, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock offered the challenge that Brown needed to be all in for the team.
Perhaps the message was received. For now, Brown is in camp and wearing an approved helmet. For now.
Brown’s feet doing better too
One of the other big NFL headlines this month became almost an afterthought with the helmet issue. Brown’s feet, burned in a cryotherapy mishap, are apparently better.
“Good. Really good,” Gruden said about Brown’s feet.
From the outside looking in, all the Brown drama seems to be a pain for the Raiders and Gruden. Not so, he insisted.
“It’s not been a distraction to me at all,” Gruden said. “We’ve known what the status is, regarding his feet. He just showed up with frostbite. I’ve never had a guy show up with frostbite. Fortunately we got that thing under control. And this grievance thing is no laughing matter. It’s something that’s really important to him. And there’s nothing wrong with supporting your players on things they believe in. We also understand the league’s position.
“I’m confident he’s going to be a heck of a player for us and be ready to roll.”
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