What we know about Antonio Brown's absence from Oakland Raiders, beef about helmets with NFL

Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY
Published 2:10 p.m. ET Aug. 11, 2019 | Updated 3:03 p.m. ET Aug. 11, 2019CLOSEWithout even playing a game for his new team — and hardly practicing in the process — Antonio Brown has managed to keep his name in the headlines. The Oakland Raiders wide receiver showed up to his first training camp practice in a hot air balloon. When questions surrounding his limited practice time popped up, so did grotesque pictures of his feet, which suffered frostbite in a cryotherapy machine during the offseason, according to “Pro Football Talk Live.” Brown filed a grievance against the NFL last week in an effort to wear the type of helmet he has always worn but is no longer certified by the league. To add another layer to the drama, the Raiders’ every move this training camp is being chronicled by an army of cameras for HBO’s Hard Knocks. So as a refresher, here’s what we know about everything currently embroiling the star Raiders wideout. Antonio Brown’s foot injury By now, the pictures have circulated across the web. Brown’s feet, which he posted about on his own Instagram account, are quite the sight. The cause, according to Chris Simms of “Pro Football Talk Live,” is that he was using a cryotherapy machine without the proper footwear. After practicing the first few days of camp, Brown has not appeared on the field over the last week. He began camp on the non-football injured list, and the Raiders have referred to his injury as day-to-day. Antonio Brown’s helmet battle vs. the NFL This controversy dates to April, when the NFL and NFL Players Association banned 11 different helmet models that tested poorly in preventing head injuries. Per the joint statement released at the time, “only 32 players (less than 2 percent of total players) remained in one of the prohibited helmets.” Brown is one of them. So are Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, though both have adjusted their lids to conform to the new statutes. But Brown, according to the NFL Network, stormed out of the Raiders’ facility in protest. The Raiders repainted Brown’s old helmet with colors that closely matched the Raiders’, and the team has offered to fit him with one of the approved models.According to ESPN, Brown has threatened to retire and had a two-hour meeting with league officials regarding the matter. What Raiders coach Jon Gruden has said about Antonio Brown Following the Raiders’ 14-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, Gruden threw his total support behind Brown. “I support this guy. I think that’s what needs to be said,” he told reporters. “”I don’t know what anybody’s writing or what anybody thinks, but this foot injury wasn’t his fault. This was a total accident. It really wasn’t his fault, and it’s a serious injury. I know that some people are (joking about) it, but it’s really not a laughing matter. The guy is hurt, he didn’t do anything wrong, and the helmet thing is a personal matter to him.”He also backed him up on the helmet matter. “He has a strong feeling about what he’s worn on his head, and we’re supporting him,” Gruden said of Brown. “We understand the league’s position as well, so we’re in a tough spot, and we hope Antonio is here soon because he’s exciting to be around. I’m excited. I’ve got some plays for him. I hope we can start calling them.”I’ve got a feeling he would play with no helmet — that’s how much he loves to play. But I’m not going to put words in anybody’s mouth. We’re going to support him, and whatever his decision is, we’ll stand by it. But we’re confident that he’s going to be a huge factor for the Raiders for years to come.”How Antonio Brown got to the RaidersIt was public knowledge that Brown did not get along with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The whole locker room’s mood was exacerbated by Le’Veon Bell’s yearlong absence in 2018, and the team moved on from both this offseason by letting Bell walk and jettisoning Brown to the West Coast in return for third- and fifth-round picks. Oakland quickly signed him to a three-year deal worth more than $50 million. AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide

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