ALAMEDA (CBS SF/AP) — Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown had been relatively silent for more than a week, but that ended Wednesday with a social media post criticizing the NFL team for leveling fines against him for missing practices.
Brown was in the headlines for much of the preseason and it had little to do with his play on the field. First, he suffered severely frostbitten feet while undergoing cryotherapy treatment in France, forcing him to start training camp on the non-football injury list.
He was activated on July 28, but immediately became embroiled in a dispute with the NFL and the NFLPA over his helmet. The NFL and NFLPA won’t allow him to use the same Schutt Air Advantage that he has used throughout his career, it doesn’t not meet the new safety requirements.
Twice he filed a grievance and twice he lost.
At one point, Oakland general manager Mike Mayock issued an “all in or all out” ultimatum.
“You all know that A.B. is not here today,” Mayock said in a video on the team Twitter page. “So here’s the bottom line. He’s upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that. We appreciate that,” Mayock said. “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. We’ve got 89 guys busting their tails. We are really excited about where this franchise is going and we hope A.B. is going to be a big part of it starting Week 1 against Denver. End of story. No questions.”
As this weekend’s regular season opener neared — a Monday night showdown with Denver — it appeared that Brown had regained his focus on his play.
Then on Wednesday, he posted a letter from Mayock on his Instagram story page. In it, the Raiders GM informed Brown that he was being fined $13,950 for missing a walk through on Aug. 22nd and $40,000 for missing Raiders preseason training camp on Aug. 18.
In response, Brown wrote: “WHEN YOUR OWN TEAM WANT TO HATE BUT THERE’S NO STOPPING ME NOW DEVIL IS A LIE. EVERYONE GOT TO PAY THIS YEAR SO WE CLEAR.”
Brown had 686 catches and 9,145 yards receiving the past six seasons in Pittsburgh, the best marks ever for a receiver in a six-year span. But he still wore out his welcome with the Steelers after leaving the team before a crucial Week 17 game last season, and Oakland was able to acquire him in March for the small price of third- and fifth-round draft picks.
The drama that surrounded Brown in Pittsburgh didn’t stop upon his arrival in Oakland even though he was given a hefty raise with a three-year contract worth $50.125 million.