Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown lost his helmet grievance against the NFL, but plans to return to the team.
Brown sought to wear his old helmet, which is no longer certified by the National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
Brown, who was traded to Oakland in the offseason, reportedly had a two-hour conference call with an independent arbitrator on Friday. He sought to convince the arbitrator that he should be able to maintain wearing the head gear that he was using as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brown revealed his feelings about the decision on his Instagram account.
“While I disagree with the arbitrator’s decision I’m working on getting back to full health and looking forward to rejoining my teammates on the field,” Brown wrote. “I’m excited about this season appreciate all the concerns about my feet! #AlwaysAFight #Represent #itsbiggerthanme,” Brown said.
According to published reports, the 31-year-old Brown feels the new helmets certified by the NFL interfere with his vision as he attempts to catch football.
NOCASE will not certify a helmet older than 10 years, according to the league policy.
The NFL and NFLPA added 11 helmets to their joint list of approved models for the 2019 season. At the end of last season, the NFL said 32 players were wearing helmets that became banned for 2019.
Among other players granted a one-year exemption for outdated helmets for the 2018 season were Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady said Monday he has switched helmets because “I don’t really have much of a choice.”
Brown’s reference to his feet is a reference to him getting frostbite-like symptoms after using a cryotherapy machine in France without the proper footwear. Brown recently revealed pictures of the injured feet, and head coach Jon Gruden defended the receiver saying the incident “was not his fault.”
The Raiders acquired the seven-time Pro Bowl selection from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade in March and later signed him to a three-year, $50.125 million contract.
Brown caught at least 100 passes and exceeded 1,200 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons with the Steelers. He appeared in 130 games with Pittsburgh from 2010-18, catching 837 passes for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns.
—Field Level Media
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