No, neither of these players are retiring, though Brown reportedly threatened to. They, along with other NFL players, are having to adjust to new helmets — whether they want to or not.
“I’ve been experimenting with a couple different ones, and I don’t really love the one that I’m in, but I don’t really have much of a choice,” Brady said in his Monday interview with radio station WEEI. “So I’m just trying to do the best I can to work with it.”
The NFL and NFL Players Association are banning the use of some older model helmets this season to improve player safety. That means some of the league stars like Brady, Brown and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers are forced to make the switch. As of the final week of the 2018 season, 32 players (less than two percent of total players) remained in one of the prohibited helmets.
“You get used to the same helmet for a long period of time,” Brady, starting his 20th season as the New England Patriots quarterback, said. “My last helmet, I wore it the last four Super Bowls, so it was a pretty great helmet for me. I hated to put it on the shelf. It’s kind of what I’m dealing with.”
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Players aren’t allowed to play or practice unless they have approved helmets. That didn’t sit well with Brown. The Oakland Raiders wide receiver, who is in his 10th season, wanted to use the same helmet he’s worn his entire career. He took his case to an arbitrator, who was jointly approved by the NFL and the players’ union. The ruling went in favor of the league.
“While I disagree with the arbitrator’s decision, I’m working on getting back to full health and looking forward to rejoining my teammates on the field,” Brown said in a tweet. “I’m excited about this season appreciate all the concerns about my feet!”
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Brown suffered frostbite on his feet doing cryotherapy. On Saturday, following their preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said he hopes to have him available this week.
“We hope Antonio is back here soon because he’s exciting to be around,” Gruden said. “I’m excited, I have some plays for him. I hope I can start calling them.”
Meanwhile, the quest continues for the right helmet for Brown. On Tuesday, he took to Twitter to try to find a model to his liking, saying, “I’m looking for a Schutt Air Advantage Adult Large Helmet that was manufactured in 2010 or after.”
In exchange, he said, he will offer a signed practice-worn Raiders helmet as a trade.