Just when you think you know everything you wanted to know about Antonio Brown, you don’t.
The Oakland Raiders wide receiver, contrary to reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he threatened to retire from the National Football League over his inability to wear his old helmet, stated that retirement was never on his mind.
He added, “I hate when my mom called me, and my dad called. ‘Retirement? Where’d you get that from?’ I’m like, ‘I never said that.'”
Brown’s preferred helmet, a Schutt AiR Advantage, is no longer approved by the NFL, although the league will allow him to wear a helmet of that model if it is less than ten years old.
Brown did file a grievance on the matter with the NFL Player’s Association, but an arbitrator ruled against him on Monday. He suited up and ran pregame drills before the Raiders’ preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday in Glendale, but did not play a down.
“Helmetgate”, as it’s being called in some circles, is just one of many crises overshadowing Brown’s preseason, including his bizarre frostbite by way of a cryotherapy machine mishap, and a lawsuit from chef Stefano Tedeschi seeking $40,000 in unpaid wages from the week of the 2018 Pro Bowl. Still, as ever, head coach Jon Gruden is optimistic for Brown’s arrival.
“I’m not going to say anything else, but I’m very optimistic after what I saw tonight,” Gruden told ESPN after the game.