Earlier Tuesday, Brown put out a post on social media — with incentive, of course — asking fans for their help in finding a newer version of his old helmet — the Schutt Air Advantage.
“I’m looking for a Schutt Air Advantage Adult Large Helmet that was manufactured in 2010 or after. In exchange I will trade a signed practice worn @Raiders helmet.”
— AB (@AB84) August 13, 2019
Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus said they had located one that has been manufactured since 2010 and that it was just a matter of getting it reconditioned and re-certified.
“Hopefully we’re going to get this behind us soon,” Rosenhaus said.
However, if Brown can get it 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Reconditioners Association (NAERA), it is not clear whether the NFL would sign off on it, because the technology is outdated.
Brown, who hadn’t been in camp with the Raiders since being limited in a practice and leaving early on July 30, returned to the team’s facility in Napa, California, on Tuesday.
Good to have you back, 84. pic.twitter.com/N9u1mHG1P8
When asked Tuesday if he expects Brown to play in Week 1 of the regular season, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said: “Oh yeah.”
On Friday, Brown had a two-hour conference call with an independent arbitrator to argue why he should be allowed to wear his older helmet — a 10-year-old Schutt Air Advantage model — which he is thought to have been using his entire career. Brown’s specific helmet is over 10 years old and the model is no longer made by the company, so it is not currently certified by the NOCSAE.
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.
He had reportedly threatened to retire if he was not allowed to wear his helmet. He was acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers in March and promptly given a three-year, $50.125 million contract.
Brown on Tuesday declined to discuss his frostbitten feet, which he suffered in a cryotherapy mishap in France last month.
ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez and Kevin Seifert contributed to this report.