Detroit-based helmet maker Xenith LLC is now making the starting lineup in the NFL.
Oakland Raiders wider receiver Antonio Brown has chosen to don a helmet made by Xenith — using injection molded parts and a proprietary shock absorption system — after losing a fight to wear prized helmet design that the NFL deems too old to be safe.
Brown will wear the Xenith's flagship helmet, the Xenith Shadow, the company announced in a news release.
"It's just, I only get one head and one neck," Brown said in a Sept. 4 news release from Xenith. "So I gotta make sure when guys [are] trying to take my head off, I got the right lid to protect [me]."
Xenith's helmet features the company's proprietary "shock matrix" technology for absorbing hits, more ventilation and a polymer shell. It works with outside suppliers of injection molded parts, including Sturgis Molded Products of Sturgis, Mich.
The company did not specify whether the choice is part of a paid endorsement deal, but the release said, "Xenith and Antonio Brown look towards the future in creating a partnership that is larger than football."
Brown, who was acquired by the Raiders from the Pittsburgh Steelers in March, picked the new helmet after he lost a battle with the NFL over his Schutt Air Advantage helmet. He wanted to keep using it though it is no longer allowed, because helmets a decade or older can't be recertified for safe use.
Schutt said it stopped making the helmet three years ago and its technology is outdated.
Xenith, which also debuted a line of clothing last year, was launched in 2004 by former Harvard University quarterback Vin Ferrara. The company also makes shoulder pads and visors.
Frank Gore, a running back for the Buffalo Bills, also wears at Xenith helmet during games.