The Raiders had done a great job of keeping the extent of the Antonio Brown situation under wraps, until all hell broke loose on Friday. After Saturday's preseason game against the Rams, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said the most that he has, but still not very much, about the confusing situation that has engulfed his star receiver.
"There's been a lot of reports out there," Gruden said, via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I can't say I agree with all of them. . . . This foot injury wasn't his fault, and it's a serious injury. . . . And the helmet thing is a personal matter to him . . . and we're supporting him."
Gruden didn't elaborate on the basis for his disagreement with the various reports that have emerged. And his concession that Brown's foot injury is "serious" represents the first time anyone with the Raiders has acknowleged that it's anything more than a day-to-day annoyance.
It has become widely reported, starting with Chris Simms on Tuesday's PFT Live, that Brown suffered frostbite on his feet after entering a cryotherapy chamber last month without proper footwear.
The fact that, per Gruden, the Raiders are "supporting" Brown on "the helmet thing" doesn't really matter. If the independent arbitrator decides that Brown won't be permitted to wear his outdated Schutt AiR Advantage, nothing the Raiders say or do will matter. Still, the Raiders need to stand behind his position, no matter how unreasonable it may be, if they hope to keep Brown from wanting out of Oakland in the same way that he wanted out of Pittsburgh.