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Antonio Brown Returns to Raiders After Resolving Helmet Dispute

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2019

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown during NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown reported to the team Tuesday following a resolution in a grievance regarding the use of his helmet.

Paul Gutierrez of ESPN shared an image of Brown at camp after NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport first reported Brown would return earlier Tuesday.

Paul Gutierrez @PGutierrezESPN

And @AB84 has returned to Napa for #Raiders camp... https://t.co/KMZUJXGpEa

Pelissero noted, though, that it's unclear when Brown will participate in practice due to his foot injury. ESPN's Sal Paolantonio (h/t Michele Steele) reported last week that the seven-time Pro Bowler is dealing with extreme frostbite after not wearing the proper footwear inside of a cryotherapy machine.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday that an arbitrator ruled against Brown as he sought to continue to wear the helmet that he had worn for his first nine seasons in the NFL, which is no longer certified by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).

Brian McCarthy @NFLprguy

The player can’t practice or play in games with equipment that’s not approved. If he doesn’t play or practice he is in breach of his contract and doesn’t get paid. Nfl policy is that Helmets have to be certified by NOSCAE. They don’t certify equipment that’s old than 10 years.

Schefter reported Friday that Brown would consider walking away from football if he was not allowed to wear his old helmet. But upon having his grievance denied, the 31-year-old wideout took to social media to say that he is "working on getting back to full health and looking forward to rejoining my teammates on the field":

AB @AB84

"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. I'm excited about this season appreciate all the concerns about my feet 🦶!” #AlwaysAFight #Represent #itsbiggerthanme

Oakland acquired Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers back in March. The Raiders reworked the receiver's contract as well, agreeing to pay him $50.125 million over the next three years while guaranteeing him $30 million.

By doing so, Jon Gruden and Co. added one of the most productive receivers the NFL has ever seen.

Brown has piled up 100-plus receptions and 1,200-plus yards in each of the past six seasons while with the Steelers. He led the league with 15 touchdown catches last year and has recorded double-digit scores in four of the last five seasons.

Unfortunately for Gruden, working Brown into the offense has been a little bumpy so far. Between his foot injury and his helmet grievance, he has been absent for the majority of training camp. Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal noted Brown missed 10 of the first 11 training-camp sessions.