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Report: Raiders Concerned About Antonio Brown's Behavior, Helmet Grievance

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2019

FILE - In this June 11, 2019, file photo, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown is shown during an NFL football minicamp in Alameda, Calif. The Raiders and their big personalities like Antonio Brown and Richie Incognito are ready to be stars on HBO's
Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Antonio Brown is five months into his tenure with the Oakland Raiders, and the team is already dealing with the kind of drama that preceded Brown's departure from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Friday that the star wide receiver was upset with the fact that he can no longer wear his preferred helmet because it's no longer certified by the National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment. He has filed a grievance against the league.

According to NFL Network's Michael Silver, the issue has taken on greater significance for the Raiders:

Michael Silver @MikeSilver

2) Brown’s vocal resistance to the mandate, both during OTAs and shortly after his arrival in Napa, Calif. for training camp, has contributed to a disconnect with the team that acquired the seven-time Pro Bowl selection via a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers last March...

Michael Silver @MikeSilver

4) Brown initially left to seek an additional medical opinion on his frostbitten feet. Before leaving, Brown pushed back for a third time against the league’s prohibition of the helmet model he has worn for his entire nine-year career...

Michael Silver @MikeSilver

6) The pushback began in May, when the receiver was informed by the Raiders that the NFL had officially eliminated the one-year grace period for certain helmet models, including the one worn by Brown, which had fallen short in laboratory testing for head-impact severity...

Silver added that Brown "loudly voiced his displeasure" when informed he'd have to swap his old helmet for a newer model and then "stormed out of the facility in protest." The problems extend beyond the concerns over the helmet:

Michael Silver @MikeSilver

19) Brown, according to witnesses, typically glances at the screens of several tablets and his smart phone during meetings, distracting himself by engaging in activities which include perusing his bank accounts and “liking” photos on Instagram...

Schefter reported Brown "will not play football again" unless his old helmet is approved. He appeared to reference his retirement threat in a post on Instagram that included his video segment in NFL Network's annual ranking of the top 100 players.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

AB's caption on his latest IG post 👀🚶‍♂️ (🏈 @brgridiron) https://t.co/Qj2mjakGkc

According to Schefter, Brown believes the newer helmets impede his vision when he's attempting to make a catch.

This is all happening while Brown recovers from "extreme frostbite" on his feet. He reportedly suffered the injury after not wearing protective footwear before using a cryogenic chamber.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From Inside Training Camp: #Raiders WR Antonio Brown is still day-to-day with his troublesome feet after what team sources describe as a cryogenic chamber mishap. https://t.co/4NoT7IS8Yj

Brown's relationship with the Steelers rapidly deteriorated toward the end of the 2018 season, and he demanded and received a trade this past winter.

Now, it seems he's creating headaches for a new team—one that gave him a little more than $30.1 million guaranteed.

HBO couldn't have picked a better time to follow the Raiders for Hard Knocks.