The ongoing off-field mess involving new Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, his outdated helmet and his refusal currently to participate in their training camp, has ties to South Florida.
That’s where Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus resides and he gave an update Sunday night on the situation from Browns point of view to WSVN TV. Rosenhaus is a weekly guest on their Sunday night “Sports Xtra” show during the football season and obviously Brown and his helmet issues are one of the top off the field topics in the NFL right now:
Antonio Brown's agent — @RosenhausSports — provides an update on where AB stands with the Raiders after GM Mike Mayock's comments today about Brown being "all in or all out." pic.twitter.com/VWOBfzPvwH
— 7 Sports Xtra (@7SportsXtra) August 19, 2019
“I’m not sure that we agree that we’ve exhausted all the options, as Mike Mayock said. But there’s no doubt it’s still an ongoing process. We are trying to work with the team and the league and the union to come up with a solution. We haven’t figured it out yet,” Rosenhaus told the show.
He continued, “To say that AB is upset about the decision to not let him wear his helmet is accurate, but we’re still processing it and figuring it out. I wouldn’t make too much about him not being there today, as much as we’re still trying to come up with a solution that works for everyone.”
Brown is balking at having to switch to a new modernized helmet from the Schutt Air Advantage model helmet that he has been wearing throughout his nine-year NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The NFL contends that that helmet is outdated, too old and not safe. And, they denied Brown’s request to continue to use the helmet, when he filed a grievance with the league last week.
The only exception is: that if Brown can find a newer model of the helmet( less than 10 years old) and the NFL says that it will test it and potentially certify him to play with it. As of yet, Brown has not found a model that is within the guidelines and passes the test. So, Brown is back refusing to participate in workouts with his new team, the Raiders.
He is shown in the photo above, participating in pregame warmup last Thursday night with the Raiders in Arizona, while wearing the outlawed helmet. Brown did not play in the exhibition game.
On Sunday, Mayock, the Raiders new GM, who along with head coach Jon Gruden engineered the offseason trade for Brown from Pittsburgh to Oakland, publicly repeated frustration that Brown is refusing to come in practice with his team, that’s now in the fourth week of training camp.
“You all know that A.B. is not here today. So here’s the bottom line. He’s pretty upset about the helmet issue,” Mayock said. “We have supported that. We appreciate that. But at this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So from our perspective, it’s time for him to be all in or all out. So we’re hoping he’s back soon.”
Brown is from Miami Gardens and is a former star at Norland High School in Miami. He later went on to great success at Central Michigan and was picked in the sixth round by the Steelers in 2010. Brown is a seven time Pro Bowler and a four time first team All Pro and is regarded as one of the two or three best receivers in all of the NFL.
Almost all of the NFL players have switched over to the compliant newer football helmets and the league even created a special Sports Science Department that specifically to tests helmets and studies impact/head trauma.
Brown is part of a small group of players that have been “grandfathered in” during previous seasons to allow them wear the older helmets. That group includes, Patriots QB Tom Brady and Saints QB Drew Brees. However, the helmets have had to continue to undergo testing, and the league has now decided if they’re more than 10 years old they cannot be used in games.
That’s the issue with Brown.
The league wants the players to use a more modernized and safer helmet and Brown will not agree to do that for, now. However, he went through the mandated arbitration system and lost his appeal last week.
A Monday morning update from Napa, California, is that Brown is back at Raiders training camp and was in their team meeting.
Update: Antonio Brown was at the facility this morning and in attendance at the team meeting. The walk-through practice was canceled. But Brown is back for now. https://t.co/6gb5zFJKmO
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 19, 2019
However, it’s unclear if he intends to practice with a different helmet, etc.
Former Gators kicker Pineiro is Chicago hero- for now
Every week in the NFL there are heroes in the clutch for different franchises. However, in a market like Chicago with the rabid, massive following like the Chicago Bears, when you do something dramatic to help them win everything is taken up to a new level.
That’s something that new kicker, and former Florida Gator Eddy Pineiro, is experiencing after his dramatic game-winning 53 yard field goal with no time left in Denver Sunday gave the Bears a 16-14 win.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 15, 2019
First, it looked as though the Bears had blown the game when they allowed Denver’s Joe Flacco to lead a last-minute scoring drive that resulted in a dramatic touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders with :31 seconds left. And, then, the two hooked up on the go ahead two-point conversion to Sanders for 14 – 13 lead.
But undaunted, the Bears, led by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, got into scoring position on a 25-yard completion to the Broncos 25 to Allen Robinson with just :01 remaining.
That’s when Pineiro, who had kicked two lengthy field goals earlier in the game, stepped on the Mile High turf and calmly, with 80,000 Bronco fans going berserk, booted home a line drive game-winner to make the Bears 1 – 1.
As we wrote earlier this month, Pineiro, a second year player, had won the Bears kicking job coming out of preseason. Pineiro won the spot over Elliott Fry by hitting a 58-yard field goal against the Colts, followed by another 3-for-3 against the Titans in August.
And Gators fans will remember the Miami native having a good college career at Florida. He made 17/18 FG’s during the Gators miserable 2017 season. And combined with his 21/25 the year before, he totaled an 88% field goal career mark.
Pineiro declared for the 2018 NFL Draft after only two seasons with the Gators, but went undrafted. He signed as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders in May of 2018, however, he was placed on injured reserve last September. Earlier this summer, he was traded to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Finally, let’s keep in perspective that we are not talking Chicago icon status like: Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Ernie Banks and Patrick Kane have.
Still, it was a large moment early in his tenuous Bears kicking career and Pineiro is celebrating, like he should.
Many state fans still without ACC Network
ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference launched the 24-hour ACC television network in the middle of last month. But for all of the fanfare and build up, there are still hundreds of thousands of football fans in the state of Florida who are without the channel headed into the first weekend of September.
And now, that’s about to be problematic with a scheduled Saturday triple-header of games that will involve FSU, the Miami Hurricanes and the USF Bull’s all being televised, exclusively on the channel.
Now, the ACC and ESPN announced Thursday night a deal with Cox Communications, which serves a good portion of the state and will obviously make their customers happy:
— The ACC (@theACC) September 4, 2019
The ACC, led by Commissioner John Swofford (above), also previously announced a deal with Spectrum Communications to carry the ACC Network. That is a significant amount of coverage in Florida.
And, the ACCN is also available through satellite services like DirecTV and Dish. Plus, it’s available on streaming services like Hulu, Sling and YouTube TV for individual fees.
However, while the ACC and ESPN continue to update new deals being done with providers, customers with Comcast / Xfinity, Frontier Communications and AT&T U-verse are still waiting for the channel. And, those outlets represent hundreds of thousands of college football fans in the combined markets of Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Tallahassee.
Fans in those markets with those providers already missed last Thursday night’s opener with #1 Clemson and Georgia Tech, were without last Saturday’s ACCN games, and more importantly, possibly won’t to see their favorite school on the triple header Saturday.
That starts with USF at Georgia Tech at 2 p.m., followed by Florida State hosting Louisiana-Monroe and capped Saturday night by Miami’s opening conference game at North Carolina.
All to be shown exclusively, on the ACCN.
The crux of the problem is the amount of money that ESPN is looking to recoup from each individual customer of the provider. It is the same model that they have followed previously with the SEC Network and with their biggest channels like ESPN and ESPN2.
ESPN and the SEC had much more leverage five years ago at the launch of that television network with a much more rabid following. The SEC Network was picked up by every major provider in the state of Florida before games were ever played in the 2014 season.
Again, ESPN and the conference are negotiating non-stop and may very well get deals with the above major providers that are still holding out. But, it’s entirely possible that when the Noles, the Canes and the Bulls hit the field Saturday many of their fans in the state will not be able to see it, on TV, an app, nothing.
You’ve been warned.
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