Antonio Brown Rumors: Helmetgate 'Was All BS,' Says Anonymous Steelers Exec

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2019

Oakland Raiders' Antonio Brown stretches during NFL football practice in Alameda, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown was never going to retire, even if he isn't allowed to wear the helmet of his choosing.

At least in the eyes of a Pittsburgh Steelers source.

"This was all BS," the team source told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. "AB wants to play football. There was no chance he wasn't going to play for the Raiders. We all knew that. The Raiders had to know it too, but eventually all the drama wears you out."

La Canfora echoed that sentiment, saying there was "never any chance" Brown's helmet grievance would result in retirement when Brown had $30 million waiting for him.

While the Steelers source expects Brown to be on the field for the Raiders when their season starts Sept. 9 against the Denver Broncos, it is notable the source mentioned the "drama" that comes with Brown.

The receiver was vocal about wanting to be traded during the offseason, which led Pittsburgh to ship him to Oakland. Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Brown missed the season-ending game against the Cincinnati Bengals after he sat out practice following a dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The helmet situation is another off-field headline, although Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggested there "should be a timely resolution" with an arbitrator likely to weigh in Friday.

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Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted the core of the issue is the NFL did not ban the Schutt AiR Advantage helmet Brown prefers last season. The receiver believes he should be allowed a one-year transition period before switching to league-approved helmets, much like the players who wore one of the 11 models that were banned in 2018 were given last season.

ESPN's Josina Anderson reported she was told Brown's side has documentation saying he could wear the helmet he prefers, but it will ultimately depend on the arbitrator's decision.

Retirement seemed like a possibility in the early portion of this saga when ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Aug. 9 that Brown told the Raiders he wouldn't play if he wasn't allowed to wear his desired helmet. However, both the receiver and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, denied it would come to that:

The seven-time Pro Bowler, who finished last season with 104 catches for 1,297 yards and a league-leading 15 touchdowns, will be with the Raiders as they compete in the AFC West in 2019.

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