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AB returns, says he’s found newer old helmet

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NAPA, Calif. — Antonio Brown returned to Oakland Raiders training camp for the first time in two weeks on Tuesday, with a compromise on his helmet issue seemingly in sight and his frostbitten feet continuing to heal.

The four-time All-Pro receiver came out to the field at 11:05 a.m. PT, about 15 minutes before practice ended.

“I’m extremely grateful to be here,” Brown said. “Been dealing with a lot of adversity. I’m excited to be back, see my teammates, and get in the groove of things.”

Brown and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, acknowledged the helmet issue has been weighing on the player. He accepted Monday’s decision by an independent arbitrator that went against him using his 10-year-old Schutt Air Advantage helmet, but now he’s looking at a possible resolution that can result in him wearing the same model, just newer.

Earlier Tuesday, Brown put out a post on social media — with incentive, of course — asking fans for their help in finding a version of his old helmet that has been manufactured since 2010.

Rosenhaus said they had located some and that it was just a matter of getting one of those reconditioned and re-certified.

“So, it’s all reasonable,” Rosenhaus said. “I mean, it’s all very plausible.

“Understand that this is a guy that’s worn this helmet for nine years. He’s taken a million hits and he’s been healthy and one of the most durable players ever at his position. So you can understand why he’d want to continue to wear that helmet. It’s very important to him. It’s a big part of his safety. … The Schutt Air Advantage is what he’s worn his whole life.”

If Brown can get a model that’s been manufactured since 2010 certified by the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA), it is not clear whether the NFL would sign off on it, because the technology is outdated.

Schutt discontinued the Air Advantage in 2009, according to Glenn Beckmann, Schutt’s director of marketing communications. But the company continued to manufacture the model for a short period afterward to ensure a supply of parts for reconditioning and warranty claims.

Beckmann said he “can’t imagine” any Air Advantage models were manufactured after 2011, and the company does not have any in stock. Helmets are registered with an eight-character number stamped inside the product, similar to a VIN number for automobiles, that confirm its manufacture date.

“There was nothing wrong with the Air Advantage,” Beckmann said. “It had just outlived its life.”

Brown has tried out the new certified helmet and believes it protrudes and interferes with his vision as he tries to catch the football. He also argued that his helmet made him feel safe.

Rosenhaus reiterated that his client, who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers in March and promptly given a three-year, $50.125 million contract, had been working on the helmet issue for “months.”

Brown had reportedly threatened to retire if he was not allowed to wear his helmet.

“All the talk about retirement and everything else, that’s not a consideration right now,” Rosenhaus said. “He’s committed to the team, he’s committed to the season and everyone can take solace in that. He’ll be playing this year and playing for the Raiders.”

Rosenhaus also said that Brown’s absence from the Raiders had everything to do with the July cryotherapy mishap in France

“It wasn’t his intention to leave the team for the period of time that he did; he’s always had a good line of communication with the club,” said Rosenhaus, who added that legal issues could potentially arise from Brown’s injuries.

The Raiders have held 12 practices, with Brown participating in just one pre-practice walkthrough on July 28. He was limited before leaving early on July 30, and he had not been with the team since that day.

“It’s a process,” Brown said. “We don’t make excuses. I’m here today just 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 for me to do what I desire to do.

“Feel a lot better, you know? Working towards 100 percent. Been a process with the feet. Anytime you’ve got a lot of blisters, it’s hard to change directions, cut and run and do what I do naturally.”

Brown, who still appeared to be walking gingerly Tuesday, smiled when asked if there was a timeframe for him to return to the practice field.

“I guess you’ve got to stay tuned,” he said.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden was not sure if Brown, who was a mainstay during the Raiders offseason program and put in extra work with quarterback Derek Carr, would play in any of the team’s three remaining exhibition games.

Asked, though, if Brown would be ready for the season opener on Sept. 9 against the Denver Broncos on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” Gruden had no doubt.

“Oh yeah,” Gruden said. “Yup. We’ll work him back in.

“Obviously, it’s great to have him back. We’ve had a pretty good understanding, in spite of what people think. … We’ve had a pretty good understanding of the foot injury. We know where he’s been. We know what he’s been through. We’re thrilled to have him back and, obviously, we think he’s a great player and we’re anxious to get the men together and get rolling.”

Count Carr among them.

“Can’t wait for him to suit up and be out there with us,” Carr said. “… Anytime a teammate comes back, it always brings life to the team.

“We’ll be ready to go Week 1. We’ve got a lot of time until then. … Get some gameplan plays down, some routes, certain cuts he’ll run for us. The fact that he’s here is a good sign. It’s good for us.”

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert contributed to this report.



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With no evidence of him spitting on Ravens G Marshal Yanda, NFL clears Titans DL Jeffery Simmons

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Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons was not fined by the NFL because there was no visual evidence of him spitting on Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda.

After the Titans’ 28-12 divisional playoff win in Baltimore, Yanda accused Simmons of spitting in his face.

“I’ve never been spitten in my face,” Yanda said Jan. 11. “I literally got spit right in my face by No. 98. He needs to be put on notice by the refs, by the entire NFL. He was saying some stuff today that’s just ridiculous conduct for the NFL. I just want to put him on notice. That was ridiculous conduct.”

On Wednesday, Simmons didn’t deny he spit on Yanda.

“I know what I did and what I didn’t do,” Simmons told PaulKuharsky.com. “Today is Wednesday. My focus is on the Chiefs now. What I did do in this past game and what I didn’t do this last game isn’t going to help us win this week.”

Asked if he spit on Yanda, Simmons said, “Like I said, I’m moving on from that game. I know what I did and what I didn’t do.”

If the allegation had been proven correct, Simmons would’ve been fined $14,037 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Ravens play host to the Titans next season.

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Odell Beckham Jr.’s cop slap case won’t be pursued by DA office

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Odell Beckham Jr.’s legal issues in his native Louisiana appear to be over.

The Cleveland Browns wide receiver was potentially facing a misdemeanor charge of simple battery for slapping the buttocks of a Superdome police officer in the LSU locker room after the Tigers’ national championship victory over Clemson on Monday in New Orleans.

However, the officer in question signed an affidavit saying he did not want to pursue charges, Beckham’s lawyer, Daniel Davillier, said in a statement Saturday.

Later Saturday, a spokesman for the Orleans Parish District Attorney said, “Absent a complaining witness, this is not a case our office intends to pursue.” The New Orleans Police Department has not yet commented.

Video surfaced this week showing Beckham slapping the officer during the locker room celebration. According to records obtained by NOLA.com, the officer had been telling LSU players to put out cigars in the locker room.

No case had been instituted against Beckham because no arrest was made. And since it was not a felony charge, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office was not involved in the decision.

“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,” the Browns said in a statement issued Thursday. “They are cooperating with the proper authorities to appropriately address the situation.”

Beckham also was seen on video passing out money to several LSU players immediately after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory.

The 27-year-old Beckham is from New Orleans and played for LSU.

The university’s athletic department issued a statement Wednesday saying it was aware of video showing “apparent cash” being given to players by Beckham and that it had been in contact with the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference regarding the matter.

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Odell Beckham Jr. warrant over slapping cop’s butt is recalled, lawyer says

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The warrant out against Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been recalled, his lawyer said Saturday.

The news comes after an officer signed an affidavit saying he did not want to pursue charges, Beckham’s lawyer, Daniel Davillier, said in a statement.

As result, Davillier said, “This legal matter has been resolved.”

Beckham was potentially facing a misdemeanor charge of simple battery for slapping the buttocks of a Superdome police officer in the LSU locker room after the Tigers’ national championship victory over Clemson on Monday in New Orleans.

Beckham, 27, is from New Orleans and played for LSU.

Video surfaced this week showing Beckham slapping the officer during the locker room celebration. According to records obtained by NOLA.com, the officer had been telling LSU players to put out cigars in the locker room.

According to the law enforcement source, the Superdome officer said in his affidavit that he was a commissioned law officer who chose on his own not to file an arrest. The source expects the NOPD to withdraw the warrant as a result — which would effectively end the case against Beckham. The NOPD has not yet commented on its plans.

No case has been instituted against Beckham because no arrest has been made. And since it is not a felony charge, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office is not involved in the decision at this stage.

“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,” the Browns said in a statement issued Thursday. “They are cooperating with the proper authorities to appropriately address the situation.”

Beckham was also captured on video passing out money to several LSU players immediately after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory.

The university’s athletic department issued a statement Wednesday, saying it was aware of video showing “apparent cash” being given to players by Beckham and that it has been in contact with the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference regarding the matter.

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