Antonio Brown returned to Oakland Raiders training camp on Tuesday after losing his grievance with the NFL to wear his 12-year-old helmet that's been banned because the approved models restrict his vision. But he hasn't returned to the practice field, where he's yet to be for an entire full camp practice because of the helmet ordeal and/or frostbite-like conditions on his feet following a french cryotherapy mishap.
We personally find the whole thing exhausting — and, well, it sounds like Brown's new boss, Raiders GM Mike Mayock, agrees.
"Here's the bottom line: He's upset about the helmet issue," Mayock said, via a video distributed by the team. "We've supported that — we appreciate that, OK? But at this point we've pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So from our perspective, it's time for him to be all in or all out, OK?
"So we're hoping he's back soon. We've got 89 guys out here busting their tails. We're really excited about where this franchise is going, and we hope AB is going to be a big part of it starting Week 1 against Denver. End of story. No questions."
Of course we have no shortage of questions, to name only a few:
* Is Brown healthy enough to practice? Mayock said Brown's unhappy about the helmet, not that his feet are preventing him from being on the field.
* At what point does all the missed practice time in a new offense with a new quarterback become likely to affect Brown's bottom-line production after the trade-and-sign including an additional $30 million guaranteed for Brown and the loss of third- and fifth-round picks for Oakland?
* Are Mayock and his boss, Jon Gruden, in lockstep on AB? Because Mayock sure sounds like he's at his wits end, but remember this isn't your ordinary HC-GM partnership. The buck stops with Gruden.
* What might be the next source of drama if the past two weeks dominated by talk of Brown's nearly frost-bitten feet and insistence on putting himself in harm's way over wearing a sanctioned helmet haven't been unbelievable enough?
* Will we ever see vintage AB again, if not an awesome second career act? Because as this saga becomes stranger, it feels less and less likely.