Things are going from bad to much worse for Antonio Brown.
In one of the more bizarre NFL injuries you’ll ever hear of, the newly-acquired Oakland Raiders wide receiver entered a cryotherapy machine this summer without proper footwear — leading to severe frostbite on the soles of his feet. The 31-year-old has already visited with at least one foot specialist and after the Raiders activated him from the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list in late July, but the condition appears worse than they had hoped.
It’s now being reported there is no timetable for Brown to return to the field, per Sal Paolantonio of ESPN, and that creates a potential shockwave of concern that blasts right down the depth chart in Oakland. Brown is obviously the definitive No. 1 receiver on the roster, and he’s also set to earn a total of $14.958 million in 2019.
As it stands, head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr have no idea when they’ll finally get to see Brown in action, and the condition of his feet may have been exacerbated by attempts to continue conditioning — as seen in the debut episode of HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ — when trainers repeatedly and unsuccessfully asked Brown to ramp down his intensity in running drills.
In a utterly disturbing Instagram image that will test the limits of a strong stomach, Brown posted a picture of the bottom of his injured feet that revealed severe skin discoloration and peeling.
When the Raiders struck a deal that sent a third- and fifth-round 2019 draft picks to the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason in exchange for the All-Pro, they did so with expectations that equalled the pomp and circumstance. After all, this was arguably the best wide receiver in the entire NFL packing up and heading west to hopefully rejuvenate what was an uneven Raiders offense in 2018. From hot air balloon rides to videos of him catching masonry bricks in designer loafers, Brown was in prime form off the field ahead of training camp, but it might be a while before he’ll get a chance be it on the field.
Brown is coming off of his sixth-consecutive 1,000-yard season and has 74 career touchdowns while being just one season removed from averaging a mind-bending 109.5 receiving yards per game. He joins an offense that ranked 18th in the NFL in passing yards with just 234.4 per game, and their 19 touchdowns was bad enough for fifth-worst in the league.
There’s no doubt Brown is the adrenaline shot to the heart they need, but it’ll continue sitting on the shelf until further notice.