Antonio Brown reported to the Raiders’ training camp in Napa, California, Tuesday morning, ending days of drama filled with speculation, a threat of retirement, a lost appeal and more.
Brown’s strange preseason ordeal might earn the HBO series “Hard Knocks” an award or two. This year’s show features the Raiders, and the “Hard Knocks” production crew was, not surprisingly, following closely as Brown reported to camp. So was Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
— MJ Acosta (@MJAcostaTV) August 13, 2019
“I’m dealing with a lot of adversity … but I’m excited to be back with my teammates,” Brown told reporters.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden expects Brown will be ready to play in the Sept. 9 season opener.
“We’ll work him back in, obviously it’s great to have him back.” Gruden said.
Brown didn’t provide a timeline for when he expects to be able to practice. He reported to camp on time — in a hot-air balloon, no less — but was sidelined at first reportedly by frostbitten feet suffered during cryotherapy. Brown brushed off a question about his feet, and Rosenhaus told reporters the All-Pro wide receiver had received laser treatment. He declined to offer specifics because of possible legal action.
Later, Brown balked at playing without his old helmet, which is no longer on the NFL’s approved list. He lost an arbitration appeal to use the old model, and reportedly threatened to retire if he couldn’t use the helmet.
Monday night, Pro Football Talk reported the NFL and Brown had reached a compromise allowing him to use the helmet model he likes if he could find one made within the past 10 years. And first thing Tuesday morning, Brown tweeted out his search for just such a helmet.
Rosenhaus did say, however, that Brown’s feet were always the bigger issue, and that he returned to camp because he had finished treatments. As far as the helmet issue, he said Brown has found some helmets he likes and they will be submitted to the NFL for approval.