Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown has reportedly filed a grievance with the NFL over a league rule that prevents him from wearing his 10-year-old helmet, and has reportedly told the team he would be willing to retire over the disagreement.
ESPN reported that Brown had a two-hour conference call Friday with an independent arbitrator to state his case for why he should be able to use a helmet that is no longer certified by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. League and union representatives were also on the call and ESPN reported a ruling could come as early as next week.
Brown’s Schutt Air Advantage helmet is not allowed to be worn because of a league policy that players must wear helmets that are NOCSAE certified, a person in the league said on condition of anonymity because the commissioner’s office was not talking publicly about the issue. NOCSAE won’t recertify his helmet because it is more than 10 years old.
Schutt discontinued making the helmet three years ago because current technology had moved past it, according to the company.
Brown was one of 32 players using one of 11 helmets last season that are now banned by the league and players’ association. Those players, including star quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, were able to use the helmets last season under a grace period but were required to make the change in 2019.
Brown has not participated in a full practice for the Raiders after starting training camp on the non-football injury list with injuries to his feet that reportedly came from frostbite suffered while getting cryotherapy treatment in France.
Brown was cleared to practice on July 28 and participated in part of two sessions but hasn’t been around the team the past few days.
The team issued a statement, saying it was “aware and supportive of Antonio Brown but [have] no further comment.”
In Kaepernick’s corner
Colin Kaepernick has an unlikely ally in his quest to return to the NFL — President Donald Trump.
Kaepernick, 31, hasn’t played since 2016 with the San Francisco 49ers. He helped start a wave of protests about social and racial injustice that season by kneeling during the national anthem at games, drawing strong criticism from President Trump.
But Trump on Friday told reporters when asked if Kaepernick should play in the NFL: “Frankly, I’d love to see Kaepernick come in, if he’s good enough.
‘‘Only if he’s good enough. I think if he was good enough, I know the owners, I know Bob Kraft, I know so many of the owners, if he’s good enough, they’d sign him. So if he’s good enough, I know these people — they would sign him in a heartbeat. They will do anything they can to win games.”
Kaepernick has gone public with his desire to return to the NFL this week. He released a video Wednesday saying: ‘‘5 a.m. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready.’’
Shurmur: No QB controversy
An outstanding debut by heir apparent Daniel Jones doesn’t make for a quarterback competition for the New York Giants, at least for now.
Coach Pat Shurmur said Friday that Jones’s perfect passing performance and touchdown throw on his only series in the 31-22 preseason victory Thursday over the rival Jets has not caused him to change his belief that 38-year-old Eli Manning is the Giants’ starting quarterback heading into the season.
Jones, the sixth pick overall in the draft, clearly had the better game, hitting all five of his passes for 67 yards. He capped his weather-shortened evening with a 12-yard pass to Bennie Fowler III in the right corner of the end zone.
Shurmur had planned to use the Duke rookie for another series or two but sat him after the game was suspended for 59 minutes late in the first quarter because of severe weather.
Manning, who is entering his 16th season, had a three-and-out series to start the night for the offense. He hit his only pass, a 3-yarder to tight end Scott Simonson on the opening play from scrimmage, but he failed to see a wide-open Rhett Ellison 20 yards downfield on the play.
Shurmur noted the performances were in just one game.
‘‘Listen, we’re not going to play the ‘what ifs,’ and I would say this: Nothing has changed,’’ he said. ‘‘This is the first game and I expect Daniel to play well, I expect him to go out and improve, and for the people that don’t know him, impress them. That’s what we expect from him. We expect that from Eli, we expect that from everybody. So our expectations for him have not changed, and in my mind our situation hasn’t changed.’’
Browns’ Callaway suspended
The NFL suspended Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway four games without pay for an unspecified violation of the league’s policy and program on substance abuse. Callaway will sit out the first four regular-season games. ‘‘I take full responsibility for my actions,’’ Callaway said in a news release. ‘‘I made a mistake and I own that. I have taken steps to make myself better and I appreciate the Browns standing by me and supporting me during this time.” I know there’s nothing I can say to regain trust; it will all be about my actions.’’ . . . The Bills acquired offensive lineman Ryan Bates from the Eagles for defensive end Eli Harold. The trade continues Buffalo’s offseason-long overhaul of its offensive line, which suffered a setback when LaAdrian Waddle was lost for the season with a torn right quadriceps . . . Kirk Cousins was flawless in his lone series in Minnesota’s new offensive scheme, backup Sean Mannion delivered a scoring pass under a heavy rush, and the Vikings defeated host New Orleans, 34-25. The game marked the Vikings’ first test of their new offense directed by coordinator Kevin Stefanski and influenced by adviser Gary Kubiak. With Saints record-setting QB Drew Brees getting the night off, ex-Viking Teddy Bridgewater played throughout the first half, completing 14 of 19 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown . . . Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph led the offense on four scoring drives as the host Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 30-28 . . . The Colts are taking no chances with Andrew Luck — or Adam Vinatieri. Coach Frank Reich said he expects the starting quarterback to miss at least three more practices with a strained left calf, likely keeping him off the field until Wednesday, when the Browns come to town for a joint practice. The Colts also acknowledged that Vinatieri was held out of Thursday’s preseason loss to the Bills because of a knee injury . . . A Louisiana lawyer suing the NFL over the failure to call a crucial penalty in a January playoff game said he won’t force the New Orleans Saints to comply with a subpoena for records regarding the game. Antonio LeMon released a letter to team officials saying he and three fellow ticket-holders suing the NFL don’t want the subpoena to distract the Saints organization from the upcoming football season.