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Old 08-09-2019, 04:12 PM
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Michael Silver ......


THREAD:

1) Even before suffering bizarre injuries to his feet, Antonio Brown alarmed Raiders coaches and teammates by railing against the NFL’s enhanced enforcement of helmet regulations, a policy change which will likely force the star receiver to switch to a new model...


2) Brown’s vocal resistance to the mandate, both during OTAs and shortly after his arrival in Napa, Calif. for training camp, has contributed to a disconnect with the team that acquired the seven-time Pro Bowl selection via a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers last March...


3) According to four sources familiar with Brown’s current absence from camp, which dates back to late last week, Raiders coaches and players are concerned that the receiver’s unhappiness regarding the helmet issue may be playing a role in his decision to stay away from Napa...


4) Brown initially left to seek an additional medical opinion on his frostbitten feet. Before leaving, Brown pushed back for a third time against the league’s prohibition of the helmet model he has worn for his entire nine-year career...


5) His continued frustration surrounding the situation has created a buzz among teammates and coaches, one of whom referred to the saga as “honestly the most insane thing I have ever heard. I don’t know why it’s so important to him. It doesn’t make any sense.” ...


6) The pushback began in May, when the receiver was informed by the Raiders that the NFL had officially eliminated the one-year grace period for certain helmet models, including the one worn by Brown, which had fallen short in laboratory testing for head-impact severity...


7) This meant that Brown and 31 other players who finished the 2018 season on NFL rosters, including star quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, would have to switch to approved helmets...


8) On a conference call with reporters earlier this spring, Jeff Miller, the NFL’s exec VP of health & safety initiatives, said that any team found to have known about a player wearing a banned helmet or to have facilitated the use of one would be subject to league discipline...


9) Each team's equipment manager had been instructed to remove all banned helmets. All of this was conveyed to Brown at the team’s training facility a few days before the start of Phase Three OTAs—the first time players are allowed to wear helmets during on-field workouts...


10) When he showed up for the 1st OTA, however, Brown requested his old helmet. After being told he’d have to wear an approved model, witnesses say, the WR loudly voiced his displeasure, complaining QBs such as Brady and Rodgers were not being subjected to the same scrutiny...


11) Shortly thereafter, Brown stormed out of the facility in protest. Later that day, Raiders officials found video footage of Rodgers, during the Green Bay Packers’ OTA session, wearing an approved-model helmet and texted it to Brown...


12) The following day, Brown showed up in Alameda and acted like nothing had happened, accepting the new helmet from an equipment manager without protest and completing the workout...


13) However, sometime in the next couple of weeks, Brown once again tried to take the field with his old helmet, which he had since had repainted with colors approximating—but not completely mimicking—the Raiders’ silver-and-black design...


14) He was told the helmet was not allowed, and once again, he acquiesced and wore the new model. Before Brown arrived at training camp last month, coaches and teammates believed the issue had been resolved...


15) But Brown, who practiced on his tender feet for only two days before leaving Napa to seek another opinion, tried yet again to sneak his old helmet onto the practice field, ultimately being told by team officials to remove it...


16) “He’s still freaking out about it,” said one Raiders player. “He hasn’t been here for awhile, and no one knows where he’s at.” ...


17) All of this has created an aura of mystery and uncertainty surrounding the receiver, whose highly productive tenure with the Steelers ended after a stretch of turmoil and dissatisfaction that dated back to last December, when Brown was benched for the season finale...


18) Since joining the Raiders, Brown has frustrated his new bosses by showing up late to numerous meetings and by often appearing unfocused in them...


19) Brown, according to witnesses, typically glances at the screens of several tablets and his smart phone during meetings, distracting himself by engaging in activities which include perusing his bank accounts and “liking” photos on Instagram...


20) Still, according to one source, “the meeting thing isn’t that bad… but the feet, helmet and going dark is an issue.”


(END)
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