Antonio Brown returned to the Oakland Raiders’ training camp home in Napa Valley, California, on Tuesday, with his agent Drew Rosenhaus in tow.
Wearing a black winter hat and his black No. 84 Raiders jersey, Brown met briefly with the media after an amazing-even-by-NFL-standards few days that saw news come that he’d been sitting out practices because of frostbite to his feet from a cryotherapy chamber, reports that he wouldn’t play without his 12-year-old, non-certified helmet, his grievance hearing with the NFL over said helmet and the news that the arbitrator (not surprisingly) ruled in the league’s favor.
Brown didn’t reveal much, particularly when it came to the details of how and what exactly happened to his feet.
‘It’s a process’
Here’s a quick transcript of what Brown said:
On returning to the Raiders: “I’m extremely grateful to be here. Dealing with a lot of adversity, I’m excited to be back and see my teammates and get in the groove of things here shortly.”
On his helmet [on social media he put out a call for a Schutt Air Advantage model that’s less than 10 years old]: “We’re working with the NFL in regards to the helmet and I’ll make sure I put on the right equipment-approved helmet and I’ll be ready to go shortly.”
If the league will have to give the green light on his helmet: “They have to certify it and do all the procedures but working with the NFL to make sure we’re following all the procedures to be out there in the right equipment.”
On the recovery process with his feet: “It’s a process. I’m here today to get things on the up and up. I’m feeling a lot better, it’s been a process through all the adversity but I’m still here standing so it’s an opportunity or me to do what i desire to do.”
On Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock backing him publicly: “It was good to hear; I’m battling with a foot injury, see my face all over the news. But these guys have been doing a good job supporting me, grateful to hear them come out supporting me.”
The exact nature of his injury: “I think you guys already announced it, right?”
How did the foot injury happen: “Gotta ask the doctor, man.”
How is he feeling now: “A lot better; working towards 100 percent. It’s been a process with the feet. Anytime you’ve got a lot of blisters it’s hard to change direction, cut and run and be able to do what I do naturally. I’m excited to just move forward.”
When will he return to practice: “Guess you guys stay tuned I guess.”
Where was he when he left camp: “I’ve been seeing a foot specialist, Marty. He’s a good guy, been taking care of my feet. Been doing all the rehab and procedures things to allow me to come back out here and do what I desire to do.”
Rosenhaus told reporters that helmets less than 10 years old have been located and they’re working with the league to get one certified for Brown to use; the agent also said that Brown required laser treatment for his feet, but wouldn’t reveal details of how exactly they were burned because there may be legal action.
Jon Gruden: Brown will be ready Week 1
Coach Jon Gruden, who has seemed frustrated at times over the last week, said it remains to be seen whether Brown will play in a preseason game, but was confident that the receiver will be ready for the regular season.
“We’ll work him back in [during practice]. It’s great to have him back,” Gruden said. “We’ve had a pretty good understanding, in spite of what people think, we had a pretty good understanding what’s going to happen and now we’re ready to get rolling.”
Will he be ready for Week 1? “Oh yeah. Yep,” Gruden said.
Derek Carr: We have time
Though Brown hasn’t practiced much with the Raiders, quarterback Derek Carr downplayed any sense of urgency in terms of the two getting on the same page.
”I think he’s here now, so we’ll be ready to go Week 1,” Carr said. “We’ve got a lot of time until then ... we have so much time to get some game plans down, some routes, certain cuts that we’re going to have him run and those kind of things. The fact that he’s here is a good sign. It’s good for us.”
NFL Network reported last week that Brown has already been late to several meetings and distracting himself with tablets, phones and social media instead of focusing.
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