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Sportsbooks Offering Odds on Antonio Brown Retiring Before Week 1 of 2019 Season Due to Helmet Grievance

Raiders coach Jon Gruden at a team practice
Jon Gruden came out in support of Brown this weekend. Photo by U.S. Air Force employee Louis Briscese of Travis AFB (wikimedia commons) [CC License].”
  • Antonio Brown is currently absent from Raiders training camp due to a helmet grievance with the NFL
  • He’s threatened to retire if the league doesn’t let him wear his old helmet
  • As bizarre of a situation as this has been, Brown is expected back at camp at some point

Antonio Brown has been mired in a couple of bizarre incidents this past week. First, it was the frostbitten foot. Now, he’s in a standoff with the NFL over using his old helmet.

The mercurial receiver has threatened to retire over it, and now sportsbooks have posted odds that he’ll follow through. Is there any value betting this?

 2019 Antonio Brown Retirement Odds

Will Antonio Brown Retire Before Week 1? Odds
Yes +500
No -1000

*Odds as of 12/08/2019.

Brown Has Had A Bizarre Couple Of Weeks

It’s hard to believe that Antonio Brown’s bizarre cryogenic chamber, frostbitten foot was only the second-most bizarre story with the star receiver last week. The bombshell that dropped was that he’s willing to retire over using his old helmet.

The NFL regularly updates their helmets for safety reasons. You might recall that they have massive issues with concussions that have become public and as a result, families are keeping their kids away from entering the sport. It’s a big problem. However, Brown has grown comfortable with his old helmet.

Although he hasn’t formally announced his standoff with the league, reporters have suggested that he won’t play unless the NFL allows him to use his old helmet. That’s very unlikely to happen – especially since the NFL Players Union has agreed to use this helmet (that means Brown is fighting his own union).

Gruden Supports Brown

Of course, we’ve all been waiting to hear from head coach Jon Gruden, who we thought wouldn’t be pleased with the situation. The general consensus was that he’d blow a gasket and that this could cause a rift between Brown and the team. It’s very likely that it is behind the scenes but publicly, Gruden has supported him.

What’s also worth noting is that Gruden kind of implied that he expects Brown back at some point. Up until that point, we hadn’t heard anything positive about the situation but it seems like he believes it will be settled. It could just be wishful thinking, though, as Gruden’s butt is on the line after trading for Brown.

NFL Responds To Brown’s Threat

The core of the issue is that the NFL doesn’t allow players to use helmet’s over 10 years old and Brown’s is 12. While Brown had been hoping to convince the league to allow him to use it again (he was able to use it last year), they publicly responded that they aren’t going to allow him to do it.

Going forward (and the league may go after him retroactively), Brown will be in violation of his contract unless he plays with a league-approved helmet. If not, he won’t get paid. That means he’s going to start losing money for this year and – if the league feels vindictive enough – could possibly go after him for last year’s pay too. That’s speculation at this point, though.

Another report on Sunday suggested that Brown is considering holding the league liable if he gets injured in the new helmet. Just the fact that he’s entertaining that shows that he’s considering using the new helmet.

What’s The Best Bet?

It’s hard to see Brown retiring before Week 1. Yes, he’s definitely a diva. Yes, he’s being over-the-top in this situation. However, the team has come out and support him. It’s unlikely that he tries to screw them over.

Could he hold out and miss Week 1 while trying to find a solution? That seems more likely than a permanent retirement. But what I expect is for him and the league to come to some kind of conclusion. He wants to be playing and so does the league and the Raiders, so there’s motivation to get this done. Bet on ‘No’.

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