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Raiders WR Antonio Brown Learns Of Results Of Grievance Over Helmet, Remains Absent From Practices But Expects To Be Back

For some reason, the NFL’s wide receivers seem to love Italian opera Everything that comes from their mouths is “I,I,I, me, me, me, me.” Terrell Owens. Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson....

(Photo Source: centexbeat.com)

For some reason, the NFL’s wide receivers seem to love Italian opera

Everything that comes from their mouths is “I,I,I, me, me, me, me.”

Terrell Owens. Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. Odell Beckham Jr. And of course, the lovely and talented Antonio Brown.

Owens is in the Hall of Fame. Johnson was very productive. Beckham makes acrobatic plays but, like the other two, can drive teammates and coaches to the edge of distraction. Distraction is the worst word in the NFL.

Brown, who ran himself off the Pittsburgh Steelers roster and across the map to the Oakland Raiders, has already missed most of the team’s preseason practices with frostbite injuries to his feet (more about that later). But he’s also peeved at a new league-wide safety policy that prevents him from wearing his old helmet, a model no longer made by the manufacturer (Schutt) or approved for safety purposes.

Tom Brady was forced to switch helmets. He did so reluctantly, but he did so. Brown? He filed a grievance and an arbitrator ruled against him. Brown said on Instagram that he disagreed with the decision but was looking forward to getting back on the field.

It’s easy to believe, based on his behavior, that the old helmet did not protect his head well enough. The nine-year veteran has a three-year contract worth a bit more than $50 million, so the threat to retire seemed empty from the start. And the NFL’s adamancy about safer headwear, given all that has transpired, wasn’t going to be bent by one player.

If he won’t wear the new helmet at practice and in games, he can’t take part in either. He’s been complaining about this new rule and the new helmet – he says it obstructs his vision – since the spring. Now he says he will rejoin the Raiders when his feet, reportedly burned in cryotherapy, allow it. (We hinted at this bit of nuttiness earlier).

Erratic behavior isn’t particularly uncommon in the NFL. Pro football isn’t a game for normal people – every guy who plays will say that.

But they play. They practice and they play. They wear the uniforms they’re issued and use the equipment that’s approved. Safety in helmets has been an issue for years and now the league and the NFL Players Association are in accord on what is best, not that this is necessarily the world’s greatest confidence-builder.

Brown eventually will show up and do his job. He may do it brilliantly. But you will always wonder about him, the battles he has chosen to fight and how far he will go in the interest of self-satisfaction vs. team.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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