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AB returns, says he’s found newer old helmet

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Wide receiver Antonio Brown, who returned to training camp with the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday, has found a version of his old helmet that has been manufactured in the past 10 years, he said Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Brown put out a post on social media — with incentive, of course — asking fans for their help in finding a newer version of his old helmet — the Schutt Air Advantage.

Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus said they had located one that has been manufactured since 2010 and that it was just a matter of getting it reconditioned and re-certified.

“Hopefully we’re going to get this behind us soon,” Rosenhaus said.

However, if Brown can get it certified by the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA), it is not clear whether the NFL would sign off on it, because the technology is outdated.

Brown, who hadn’t been in camp with the Raiders since being limited in a practice and leaving early on July 30, returned to the team’s facility in Napa, California, on Tuesday.

When asked Tuesday if he expects Brown to play in Week 1 of the regular season, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said: “Oh yeah.”

On Friday, Brown had a two-hour conference call with an independent arbitrator to argue why he should be allowed to wear his older helmet — a 10-year-old Schutt Air Advantage model — which he is thought to have been using his entire career. Brown’s specific helmet is over 10 years old and the model is no longer made by the company, so it is not currently certified by the NOCSAE.

Schutt discontinued the Air Advantage in 2009, according to Glenn Beckmann, Schutt’s director of marketing communications. But the company continued to manufacture the model for a short period afterward to ensure a supply of parts for reconditioning and warranty claims.

Beckmann said he “can’t imagine” any Air Advantage models were manufactured after 2011, and the company does not have any in stock. Helmets are registered with an eight-character number stamped inside the product, similar to a VIN number for automobiles, that confirm its manufacture date.

“There was nothing wrong with the Air Advantage,” Beckmann said. “It had just outlived its life.”

Brown has tried out the new certified helmet and believes it protrudes and interferes with his vision as he tries to catch the football. He also argued that his helmet made him feel safe.

He had reportedly threatened to retire if he was not allowed to wear his helmet. He was acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers in March and promptly given a three-year, $50.125 million contract.

Brown on Tuesday declined to discuss his frostbitten feet, which he suffered in a cryotherapy mishap in France last month.

ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez and Kevin Seifert contributed to this report.



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Patriots can’t lose with incentive-laden deal for Cam Newton – New England Patriots Blog

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Cam Newton’s one-year, incentive-laden contract with the New England Patriots is mostly a no-lose situation in a post-Tom Brady world. So why wouldn’t the Patriots take the plunge?

If Newton is healthy, and performs at the high level he did when he won NFL MVP and led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50, he could be the Patriots’ starting quarterback and put them back into the conversation as one of the AFC’s elite teams.

If his previously injured foot doesn’t respond well, or his performance and fit in offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ system doesn’t measure up, there’s limited financial pain for the team in quickly moving on.

So with Newton willing to accept what the Patriots have to offer — a low-cost chance to battle with 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham and 11-year veteran Brian Hoyer to be Brady’s replacement — it adds a stick of dynamite to what was already a compelling situation.

The Patriots have been high on Stidham, while some on the club have also acknowledged there’s always a blind spot with a young signal-caller until he actually plays. So now they protect themselves more at the game’s most important position, increasing competition, and seeing if Stidham rises up.

Meanwhile, Newton could have considered waiting for an injury somewhere in the NFL with more of a clear path to start. But his decision to come to New England on a prove-it type of deal reflects a desire to compete, which has to be appealing to coach Bill Belichick, who often says nothing is given and players ultimately earn their roles through their performance.

Belichick has always had respect for Newton as a competitor.

“When you’re talking about mobile quarterbacks, guys that are tough to handle, tackle, can throw, run, make good decisions — I mean, I would put Newton at the top the list,” Belichick said in 2017 prior to a game against the Panthers.

“Not saying that there aren’t a lot of other good players that do that, but I would say, of all the guys we play or have played recently in the last couple of years, he’s the hardest guy to deal with. He makes good decisions, he can run, he’s strong, he’s hard to tackle. He can do a lot of different things, beat you in a lot of different ways. We saw that in the game down there in ’13, so I would put him at the top of the list. Not saying the other guys aren’t a problem, because they are, but he’s public enemy No. 1.”

Can Newton can be that player in 2020, and also fit into the Patriots’ hard-driving culture?

His new teammates are intrigued to find out, with reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tweeting two eyes as the news broke Sunday night.

Meanwhile, fellow cornerback Jason McCourty said on his “Double Coverage” podcast: “I’m excited. Bill always says it: ‘The goal for any good team is to have as many good players as possible.’ Cam Newton is a former MVP of this league, played in the Super Bowl, that caliber of a player. The better players we have in our locker room, the better we’re going to be able to go out there perform as a team.”

“I agree fully with you,” longtime captain Devin McCourty responded. “When you add a guy like Cam Newton, it makes our quarterback room even better. We’ve already spoken about it before — the poise, and the jump and the leap you expect for Stiddy to make. I think it will be interesting in training camp and competing, and all of that, that’s how we all get better. I would think adding him to the quarterback room with B. Hoyer, you have veterans in there, you have young guys in there, I think it will give us a really good chance to be good at that position.”

McCourty added one more thought: “It will be a fun year, if the year goes as expected and we have a season.”



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New England Patriots fined $1.1 million, lose draft pick in film crew fallout

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The NFL fined the New England Patriots $1.1 million and took away a third-round pick in the 2021 draft among punishments for their television crew’s filming the field and sideline during a Dec. 8 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns,

In addition, the Patriots’ television production crews will not be allowed to shoot any games during the 2020 season, and senior club officials will undergo required training on league operation and game policies.

NFL spokesperson Michael Signora confirmed the punishments on Sunday night after ESPN broke the news.

The NFL also banned David Mondillo, who was suspended by the team at the time of the NFL investigation, from NFL facilities until further notice. Prior to the league’s discipline, Mondillo was terminated by the Patriots.

The Patriots admitted that their production crew inappropriately filmed the field and sideline. The crew was credentialed by the Browns to shoot video for a Patriots web series called “Do Your Job,” but the Patriots did not inform the Bengals or the NFL, which they called an “unintended oversight.”

“The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road,” a Patriots statement said at the time. “There was no intention of using footage for any other purpose.”

The Patriots also said the production crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, is not part of New England’s football operation.

A Patriots spokesperson confirmed the team won’t contest the penalties.

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Cam Newton signing with Patriots — NFL players react on social media

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Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50. Will he get a chance to get the six-time champion New England Patriots back to the big game?

Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, reached agreement on a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the Patriots, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. ‬

‪Newton now will compete with Jarrett Stidham for the starting job after Tom Brady left for Tampa Bay in free agency.

Here is how the NFL reacted on Sunday:



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