I’m sorry, guys. I know that Pittsburgh Steelers football is back, and there’s plenty of time to talk about all of that. Frankly, I’ve already put up 14 article since last night’s game concluded covering their victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in some form or fashion. So please indulge me for a moment while I ruminate over the absurdity that is Antonio Brown, arguably the greatest player at his position in Steelers history.
The Steelers did not want to trade him this offseason, but he made it practically impossible for him not to. And in hindsight, it’s looking more and more like General Manager Kevin Colbert got himself a pretty nice deal for him from the Oakland Raiders—early third- and fifth-round draft picks, which they used on wide receiver Diontae Johnson and tight end Zach Gentry, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Raiders gave Brown a pay raise and a nice helping of guaranteed money. Since then, he has no-showed at OTAs and taken a hot air balloon into training camp. And now we later learned that he got freezer burn on his feet, which is currently keeping out of practice.
Oh, and one of the most insane things I’ve ever heard related to football, ever. Brown is so insane over the reality that he can no longer use the same helmet that he has used for his first nine seasons in the NFL that he may even consider walking away from the game.
He went so far as to, on multiple occasions, try to sneak in the use of his old helmet, sent by request from the Steelers, repainted in Raiders colors, even though that helmet is now banned for safety concerns, jointly between the NFL and the NFLPA.
The whole thing is just unfathomable insanity, Brown reportedly going on multiple rants about it over the course of the offseason that has the team concerned. He even complained that Tom Brady didn’t have to wear a new helmet—even though he does.
As Adam Schefter wrote yesterday, Brown has reportedly informed the Raiders that “he will not play football again unless he can wear his old helmet”, which is by practicality impossible. Nobody in the NFL is allowed to wear that model of helmet anymore. It is now effectively obsolete.
Back in February, during a lengthy and insane interview, Brown did talk about how he could be prepared to leave the game. “I don’t even have to play football if I don’t want to”, he told Jeff Darlington of ESPN. “I don’t even need the game. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. If they want to play, they’re going to play by my rules. If not, I don’t need to play”.
If he decides that he can’t play by somebody else’s rules—in this case, the NFL and the NFLPA—then he’s going to have to pay back a lot of money that was ostensibly ‘fully guaranteed’.