Did Raiders general manager Mike Mayock issue an ultimatum to absent wideout Antonio Brown?
We all know about the drama, recent and less-so, surrounding star NFL wideout Antonio Brown.
From his discontent with the Pittsburgh Steelers that led the team to trade him to the Oakland Raiders for what seemed like a song, to his cryogenically-damaged feet that have limited him to just one training camp practice with his new team to his dispute over the helmet he’s worn over his career now being banned by the league, it’s been quite the 2019 for Brown.
Brown is still staying away from the Raiders as he continues to heal his feet and fume over the loss of the Schutt AiR Advantage helmet he cannot wear. The latest update in that saga, per Pro Football Talk, is that the league has since tested an AiR Advantage made less than 10 years ago and has not deemed it safe either, meaning that Brown will have to find a new model of helmet, full stop.
And while the Raiders have been supportive of Brown’s protest, it’s now time for him to put all that behind and join his team — or move on. Those were the words of Raiders general manager Mike Mayock when he spoke to reporters on Sunday. Myles Simmons of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has an abridged and a full version:
And while the language is relatively strong, with Mayock saying that Brown needs to decide if he’s “all in or all out” when it comes to the Raiders, the video, courtesy The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, shows that Mayock seems pretty upset about Brown’s ongoing absence:
While Mayock is “hoping he’s back soon,” the tone of the whole exchange belies the frustration that he, and the Raiders organization must be feeling regarding Brown. After all, the Raiders didn’t just send the Steelers two 2019 mid-round draft picks, but also gave Brown a three-year, $50.125 million extension that includes $30.125 million in guarantees. That’s a price worthy of Brown’s status as one of the league’s top receivers, but now the real cost of acquiring him is becoming clear to Oakland.
With barely one practice to his name as part of a brand-new team and catching passes from a new-to-him quarterback, Brown is already behind the curve thanks to his injured feet. Now, the helmet issue has him pouting and staying away from the Raiders. And Mayock seems ready to start issuing ultimatums.
This could spur Brown to make his return, select a different helmet and move on. But even the uncertainty about when and if that could happen adds another layer of stress for Oakland. Mayock’s comments make it seem like the Raiders organization is ready for Brown to move on with his problem with his now-banned helmet. It also makes it seem that if he’s not, they’re going to have to move forward without him.