NFL denies helmet appeal by Raiders’ Brown

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NAPA — Wide receiver Antonio Brown was denied in his bid to wear his old helmet by an arbitrator Monday, but indicated on social media he intended to join the Raiders, thus ending speculation he might retire.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, who earlier in the morning outlined the league’s argument in what he termed “background information” confirmed Brown’s grievance had been denied.

The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Brown’s response on Twitter made it clear he has no intention of walking away from a three-year contract extension with a maximum value of more than $50 million and over $30 million guaranteed: “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. I’m excited about this season appreciate all the concerns about my feet”

Brown has missed almost all of training camp after sustaining frostbite-like burns on his feet in a cryotherapy session well in advance of the start of training camp. His return date is not known. Coach Jon Gruden on Saturday night backed Brown with regard to both the injury and the helmet issue.

“The helmet thing is a personal matter to him,” Gruden said. “He has a strong feeling about what he’s worn on his head and we’re supporting him. And we understand the league’s position as well so we’re in a tough spot. And we hope Antonio is back here soon because he’s exciting to be around. I’ve got some plays for him. I hope we can start calling them.”

ESPN reported Friday Brown was threatening to retire if he could not use his old helmet.

By virtue of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association, all safety equipment must be approved by the National Operating Committee for Standards of Athletic Equipment specifications.

NOCASE will not certify a helmet more than 10 years old, and was put in charge of standards of equipment through collective bargaining between the league and the NFL Players Association. Brown’s helmet is reportedly a 12-year-old Schutt Air Advantage that was discontinued in 2011.

Lawson officially suspended

Cornerback Nevin Lawson was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Lawson announced the suspension himself a week ago on Twitter.

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