Embattled Oakland Raiders star Antonio Brown will likely have to rely on the public in order to obtain a version of his preferred helmet, the discontinued Schutt Air Advantage, which has a chance of receiving NFL approval for in-game use.
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Brown said Tuesday he would offer a signed Raiders practice helmet to any fan willing to trade him a Schutt Air Advantage, size adult large, that was manufactured in 2010 or later. He posted on social media hours after losing a grievance hearing against in the NFL, which requires players to use helmet models certified by the National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
The Schutt helmet Brown used throughout his NFL career is more than 10 years old, effectively disqualifying it from use. Schutt has since discontinued the “Air Advantage” model and hasn’t manufactured it at all since 2011.
“The AiR Advantage helmet was introduced for the 2002 season,” the company said in a statement. “It was removed from our product line following the 2009 season. We no longer make that helmet model. While it was manufactured, the AiR Advantage helmet, like all other Schutt football helmets, passed the NOCSAE certification standards.”
A Schutt representative declined to comment on whether the company has been in touch with Brown about the situation. The company said in 2014 that it discontinued the Air Advantage because “current helmet technology had moved past it.”
Even if Brown locates a Schutt Air Advantage helmet that was manufactured within the 10-year window, it’s unclear if the NFL will allow him to use it during practices and games. An NFL representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brown was expected to return to Raiders training camp on Tuesday after a lengthy absence. The 31-year-old veteran reportedly refused to practice with newer helmets, arguing that updated models obscured his vision on the field while attempting to catch passes.
Brown is also recovering from severe frostbite on both of his feet after he entered a cryotherapy chamber without proper footwear earlier this summer.