After all the hubbub about his helmet, including a retirement threat, Antonio Brown lost his grievance with the NFL and will return to camp to get ready for the new season.
There was a zero percent chance Brown was going to walk away from the new $50 million contract he signed with the Raiders over a helmet. He has a big ego and wanted to see if he could get away with it. The arbitrator said no, so now it's time to get back to business.
Brown now reportedly will return to Napa, continue to get treatment on his feet ailment and likely be ready to go for the Raiders' Week 1 game against the Denver Broncos.
But is he worth all the stuff that comes with him? Not if you ask Stephen A. Smith. The ESPN talking head took Brown to task for his helmet nonsense on Tuesday's edition of "First Take," ripping the four-time All-Pro selection for being an "absolute idiot."
"Antonio Brown is not there just to produce on the field," Smith said. "He's there to help other guys along as well. They gave him $30 million in guaranteed dollars. You got this kid Darren Waller at your tight end and Tyrell Williams as the other wideout and what have you. Derek Carr still has some maturation to experience, and here you are acting like an absolute idiot over this helmet issue. Embarrassing yourself and some of your contemporaries, turning a plethora contemporaries in the National Football League against you because of the idiocy in which you allowed this situation to elevate to.
"To sit up there after all the noise that you made in the offseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers, which ultimately led Mike Tomlin to come out publicly and say: 'We want volunteers, not hostages.' And then for you to get moved to Oakland and to get $30 million in guaranteed dollars, and then to make a fuss talking about possible retirement over this helmet issue when you're the only player in the league with over 2,000 players to complain to this degree. He embarrassed himself over the last week or so. It was a damn shameful performance on his part."
A fair critique of an absolutely nonsensical situation.
Brown never was going to retire. He knew that. Jon Gruden knew that. Everyone knew that. He wanted the spotlight and he got it.
Now, it's time for him to find a helmet and get back to work helping Gruden turn around a Raiders team that was woeful a season ago.
The Silver and Black appear to be much improved from a year ago, but they'll need Brown to put the drama aside and be locked in if they plan to make a run at the playoffs.