Antonio Brown’s long struggle with the NFL and the Raiders for the right to wear whatever old helmet he most desires may have reached a ceasefire on Tuesday. The brand-new Oakland wideout practiced with the team in an NFL-approved helmet for the first time since he went AWOL a couple of days ago, according to head coach Jon Gruden.
Brown wasn’t wearing a helmet during the portion of practice that media was allowed to watch, but he left practice with one in his hand. There’s been a fakeout ending to this controversy before, but Gruden—who echoed the language of GM Mike Mayock’s Sunday ultimatum—said Brown is “all in and ready to go.”
“It’s a certified helmet ... That’s my understanding,” Gruden told reporters. “I’m happy to have him out here. He’s a great player.”
When he hasn’t been tending to his fucked-up feet (since healed, according to his coach), Brown’s been searching the internet for a Schutt AiR Advantage helmet that’s less than 10 years old, which would make it acceptable to the NFL’s equipment requirements. Last week, it looked like Brown’s public call for helmets was successful, as he participated in a preseason game warm-up and a walkthrough. But when his recently acquired nine-year-old helmet was sent for testing, it failed, and he was back to square one.
Brown has filed multiple grievances against the NFL, one of which is still pending, and the Raiders have sounded fed up with his complaints as recently as Sunday. But for now, at least until some new obstacle keeps Brown from taking the field, everybody is putting on a happy face as they travel to Winnipeg to face the Green Bay Packers on Thursday.