Back in March, Antonio Brown forced a trade out of Pittsburgh. GM Mike Mayock made a deal for the NFL’s most consistent wide-receiver and signed him to a contract for 3 years with $30.125 million in guaranteed money.
The change of scenery should have been a refresher for Brown. Now, the Oakland Raiders’ newest star pass-catcher just can’t seem to get his head straight. Both literally and figuratively…
The Raiders are a few weeks into pre-season camp and thus far Brown hasn’t proved to be anything more than a distraction. Each step he takes has been followed closely by the media, yet Brown seems intent on spending his time as the ring-leader of the NFL’s newest circus.
Brown has missed extensive time in training camp due to issues with both his feet and helmet.
First, reports from Oakland’s camp surfaced that he suffered frostbite during a cryogenic therapy “mishap”. Forgetting to wear socks as he entered the cryo-chamber, Brown’s feet were injured and resulted in him losing a layer of skin.
Not so cool for a newly acquired player who is supposed to make an impact for his new team by use of his feet and hands.
Second, reports surfaced that Brown’s ten year old Schutt Air Advantage helmet was no longer approved as “safe” by the NFL. Brown was extremely unhappy and filed a grievance against the league in court to be allowed to continue using the dated head-wear. Citing safety issues, he threatened early retirement if unable to wear the helmet.
Brown isn’t the only player in the league that has been affected by a rule implemented by the National Football League over a year ago. The New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady was also forced to ditch his old bucket for a newer, safer model.
Brady hasn’t stirred up a fuss quite like Brown regarding the issue, and despite his reservations about the change has decided to move forward and focus on the upcoming season.
The grievance was lost and Brown returned to training camp.
With coach John Gruden leading the way, the Raider’s faithful watched as Brown finally hit the practice field at camp. The star player teased flashes of what’s to come this season by running crisp routes and making acrobatic catches.
Then out of nowhere Sunday night, Brown apparently left camp and has since filed a second grievance against the NFL. Unsatisfied with the behavior of his newly acquired wideout, Mayock drew a line in the sand by saying that Brown needs to make up his mind and either be “all-in” or “all-out”.
This morning, Bryant’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, made a statement to the media stating that this is a serious safety issue for his client and that both parties are doing everything they can to resolve this matter. He suggested that it’s possible a custom helmet may be produced for Brown, and that they have requested the Raiders acquire every approved helmet on the market so that Antonio can find the right “fit”. He also mentioned that Brown isn’t expected to miss any regular season games.
Following an impressive showing at the NFL Draft in April, the Oakland Raiders are expected to compete for a playoff spot. Now, as the beginning of the regular season looms there are whispers that Brown is already wearing out his welcome with his new teammates.
AB is a transcending player and makes the entire team around him better, but is now sitting out. Will focusing on himself, instead of building chemistry with his new offense lead to more drama for the NFL’s newest primadonna wide-receiver?
His issues with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger were heavily publicized before he forced a trade and seems intent on bringing that drama to his new team. Now that all the cameras are on him, are we seeing the “real” Antonio Brown?
At the end of the day, Brown is currently in-shape and has never under-performed in any season and will make an impact on the field this fall. He seems destined to find a place in Canton, Ohio’s Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.
But now the only question that remains is if he will enter as either a hero or villain? What is more important to him? Does he want to simply catch touchdowns and win Super Bowl rings, or does he want to trend on social media and draw daytime soap-opera headlines?