Oakland Raiders wideout Antonio Brown told reporters Thursday night that he never threatened to retire if he couldn't keep his old helmet, contradictory to an ESPN report from last week. "I don't know where they got that, who made that up, either," Brown said after Oakland won a preseason game at Arizona, 33-26. "Why would I retire, man? I've got a beautiful career. I'm healthy. I love to play the game... I'm grateful to play the game.
"...I hate when my mom and my dad call me and say, 'What the (expletive)? Retirement? Where'd he get that?' I never said that. That's the hardest part for me as an athlete." ESPN reported last Friday that Brown told the Raiders he would retire if he could not keep the helmet he's used throughout his career (which has been phased out by the NFL), feeling that his vision is limited by other helmets that have been approved for use by the league.
Thursday was Brown's first time speaking to the media since returning to Raiders training camp in Napa, Calif., this week. He had taken an absence to tend to his feet -- which were blistered in a cryotherapy mishap and have kept him out of most camp practices -- and attempt to get his helmet approved by the NFL. Brown's grievance against the league, arguing he should be allowed to keep using his helmet despite it being too old to be certified, was denied, but he has since used social media to seek out newer versions of the same helmet that could be approved.
Brown said Thursday he feels he's been portrayed inaccurately by various reports over the last week. "Absolutely, I feel misunderstood," he said. "But I'm not here to try to win people over or make people feel a certain way about me. I'm an athlete. I'm a human being. I have tough skin, but treat me like a human. Treat me with respect."
Meanwhile, Brown said his feet are improving and he's close to getting back on the field, although he wasn't ready to commit to practicing when the team gets back to work on Saturday after an off day Friday. "My feet are healing in the right direction," he said. "I'm just ready to be around my teammates and get to work and be with the guys."
Head coach Jon Gruden told reporters he expects Brown to practice before the Raiders break camp on Monday to head back to Oakland. Brown ran routes and caught passes from starting quarterback Derek Carr on the field prior to the game Thursday.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)