Antonio Brown says retirement rumors stressed out his family
Antonio Brown returned to Oakland Raiders training camp this week after his helmet grievance with the NFL was denied. While Brown was away from the team, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the wide receiver was telling the Raiders he would not play football again unless he could wear his old helmet.
Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus denied the report, saying Brown never considered retirement. On Thursday, Brown said the rumors bothered his family, per CSN Bay Area’s Scott Bair:
More Antonio Brown, on having 'tough skin" pic.twitter.com/bD1zWT9BoA
— Scott Bair (@BairNBCS) August 16, 2019
“For me, as an athlete, you have to have tough skin,” Brown said, via Bair. “People always talk, and try to bring you down. I just think it’s tough for the people who love me, that they have to hear it when they know the type of person I am and what I stand for. I hate it when my mom and dad call me and say, ‘What the f—? Retirement? Where’d he get that?’ I never said that. That’s the hardest part for me as an athlete.
“You have to have tough skin and not pay attention to what people say. Not everybody hates me. Maybe a small percentage do, but I like to focus on the big picture. If you guys could calm it down, man, that would really help my family. Can you guys help me out with the stuff that goes out there? I don’t mind, but my family gets really stressed out.”
Schefter’s original report says Brown was refusing to play unless he got his way with the helmet. That’s effectively a retirement threat. Schefter isn’t known for inaccuracies in his reporting, so we doubt he would throw something out there that wasn’t well-sourced. However, Brown was the victim of at least some bad reporting, so any frustration from the wide receiver and/or his family would be understandable.