According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Antonio Brown is threatening the Oakland Raiders that he will retire if he is unable to wear a former helmet style. The style of helmet that Brown prefers is currently prohibited for use by the NFL.
The model of helmet that Brown is requesting is a Schutt Air advantage, a model that was discontinued by Schutt earlier this decade. Brown stated his grievance about the prohibited helmet style in a two-hour phone conference with league officials and the Raiders. The NFL has a longstanding policy that requires all players to wear helmets that are certified by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). NOCSAE is refusing to certify the helmet because it is more than 10 years old.
The retirement threat comes seemingly out-of-nowhere. Brown has recently been missing from training camp due to a case of extreme frostbite on his feet caused by wearing improper footwear in a cryotherapy chamber.
It’s understandable that Brown wants to be comfortable, especially given that he’s with a new organization and in a new area. But in doing so, Brown is leaving a bad first impression on the Raiders organization and loyal fanbase. With all the speculation surrounding Brown and his previous employer, the Pittsburgh Steelers, he should be out to prove that he’s not a stereotypical diva-receiver. It’s plausible that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was correct about Brown’s attitude.
Earlier in the off-season, Brown had an interview where he described his love for football and what the game means to him. In that interview, Brown made it abundantly clear that he has acquired and saved enough money to retire and live peacefully and healthy. This is why the retirement threat should scare the Raiders. Brown is obviously okay with never playing another down of football again. Which if Brown doesn’t play a game for the Raiders, then he would lose the entirety of his $30 million guarantee with the team.