Oh, well this explains everything.
Just kidding. It doesn't. But Antonio Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus is providing a fine example of "damage control" in the wake of "Helmet Gate" between his client and the Raiders.
If you need to get caught up on the entire timeline of events between Brown and the Raiders, here you go. The condensed version: The NFL is requiring Brown to wear a new, different helmet this season since his old one does not meet current safety regulations. Brown does not want to wear the new helmet, and he's sitting out until he gets his way.
The Raiders, understandably, are unhappy with this, leading GM Mike Mayock to offer the following ultimatum:
“Here’s the bottom line,” Mayock began. “He’s upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that. We appreciate that … At this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So from our perspective, it’s time for him to be all in or all out. OK? So we’re hoping he’s back soon.
“We got 89 guys busting their tails. We are really excited about where this franchise is going, and we hope AB is going to be a big part of it, starting Week 1 against Denver. End of story. No questions. OK?”
Now, Rosenhaus is speaking with various media outlets about the issue in an attempt to explain his client's side and to mitigate some of the blows Brown is taking following Mayock's statement.
"I do think he's going to be back soon," Rosenhaus said during a recent appearance on ESPN's Get Up. "We're looking into any and all options right now to resolve the helmet issue. Antonio is very genuine. He wants to be there, he wants to be a part of the team, he wants to practice, but he'd also like to do it with the helmet that he's worn his entire life. He wore this helmet in pee-wee football, high school football, college at Central Michigan, and he also wore this helmet his nine-year [NFL] career."
OK, but Brown can't be the only one with this problem, right? Yet he's the only one making a scene about it. Rosenhaus had a response to that line of thinking, as well.
"People keep saying to me, 'There are 2,000 players that are wearing approved helmets,' but there are very few, if any, that have worn the same helmet their entire nine-year career," he said. "He's a wide receiver. He gets hit across the middle. People are trying to take his head off. He's a big target."
Then, a nice little appeal to emotion.
"You talk about how many catches he's had over the last six years, for example ... this is his life," Rosenhaus said. "He's risking everything. He's got a family. He's had a concussion before. This helmet has kept him safe. He's had brutal hits."
Call me crazy, but the fact that Brown takes so many hits and is such a target makes me think he should probably wear an approved helmet that is guaranteed to maximize his safety on the field, not an older, potentially dangerous model.
Right now, though, Ian Rapoport reports Brown is still exploring his options with the older model he prefers, a Schutt AiR Advantage:
#Raiders WR Antonio Brown may not yet be out of options. My understanding is two more helmets — same Schutt AiR Advantage that he prefers — are being tested for possible use. They were made in different years than his original one tested. A 2014 and a 2010.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 19, 2019
"We're just trying to find a way to work it out," Rosenhaus continued. "We've worked very closely with the Raiders, with the NFL. But I hope people can appreciate this is not a simple issue. The helmet is the most important piece of equipment, and he's had the same one every single snap he's played in his football career. This is a major issue for him."
Brown himself has not yet responded to Mayock's ultimatum.
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