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Antonio Brown has a potential helmet loophole

Mike Florio and Chris Simms look at what could possibly be ahead for Antonio Brown and the Raiders after the receiver filed a grievance against the NFL over banning his old helmet.

Raiders receiver Antonio Brown has a potential helmet loophole, if he chooses to try to use it.

Brown can’t use his preferred helmet -- a Schutt AiR Advantage -- in 2019, because that specific helmet is more than 10 years old. However, because the NFL has not affirmatively banned from use the Schutt AiR Advantage, Brown apparently could use one that is less than 10 years old, if he can find one.

A PFT reader communicated directly with the NOCSAE on this subject, and Executive Director/General Counsel Michael Oliver has confirmed to PFT via email that, indeed, the Schutt AiR Advantage helmets that are less than 10 years old can be recertified.

The NFL did not directly address the question of whether Brown would be permitted to use a Schutt AiR Advantage that is less than 10 years old. In response to that specific inquiry, the NFL forwarded to PFT a graphic containing the 11 helmet models that became prohibited as of 2019; the Schutt AiR Advantage is not on the list. The graphic also includes a lengthy list of preferred helmets, but it does not say that these are the only approved helmets.

So, apparently, if Brown can find a Schutt AiR Advantage in his size that was made in or after 2009, he could get that specific helmet certfied and use it this year. Because the Schutt AiR Advantage was discontinued in 2011, he has only a narrow window before it will be impossible to recertifiy any versions of the Schutt AiR Advantage.