With a work ethic that’s borderline on maniacal, or as coach Mike Tomlin referred to as “OCD”, it’s no secret that wide receiver Antonio Brown takes tremendous pride in being one of the best in the game at what he does, and it’s fair to argue that’s exactly what he’s been the past few seasons.
Last season, after coming off a monstrous 2013 campaign, he registered 129 grabs for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those two year totals come in at 239 catches for 3,197 yards and and 21 scores, or in other words, elite status since no other receiver, not even the mighty “Megatron” can match those statistics.
After putting up such staggering numbers, it also should come as no surprise whenever Brown recently opened up about his long-term, ultimate goals. Basically, he wants to be the best to ever do it, even better than the immortal Jerry Rice.
“That’s exactly my mindset,” Brown said, according to ESPN Senior NFL Writer Jeremy Fowler. “I want to be special. Things are different now. I’m not that sixth-round pick anymore.”
That is very true, as he’s far removed from that status of a sixth-round pick, and has the numbers to back it up. At only age 27, he’s in the midst of his prime and with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seeming to peak as well and primed for a monster season, it’s fair to say we may not have yet seen the best Brown has to offer.
“He’s trying to be the G.O.A.T.,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said, according to Fowler. “And he won’t settle for anything less.”
He already owns the NFL record of 33 straight games with a minimum of five catches and 50 yards, and it appears the Pro Bowls and All-Pro nods are only the beginning of what he wants to someday accomplish.
Life has been made easier for Brown as he cannot be the focal point of every team’s defensive game plan, not with the weapons that exist around him, led by the catalyst, Roethlisberger himself.
“A lot goes into it, like when you know teams are game planning to take you out,” Brown said, according to Fowler. “But like Ben says, ‘Just stay with me,’ because there are days when you have two catches after three quarters and then you start connecting. That you can still be able to be somewhat consistent and productive speaks volumes about our quarterback and our offense.”
In a league filled with prima donnas who think they can get away with anything off the field, Brown is a nice change of pace, as his constant smile is contagious, as is the genuine “good-guy” aura he carries with himself.
“I’m definitely perceived by the fans in a great way,” Brown said to Fowler. “I’ve got a good personality, a good heart, I pay homage to the fans, I have a clean face.”
While some may perceive his arrival to training camp in a custom Rolls Royce as arrogant, Brown deserves it, as he’s gone from a low-round draft pick to the best pound-for-pound receiver in the game. And he’s not done yet, as he has much higher goals for himself. As the old adage goes, “Shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars.”