When the Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to Florida earlier this year, they brought along with them to Miami several players with ties to the area, including wide receiver Antonio Brown. Now, two kids who grew up in Liberty City just outside of Miami meet in Indianapolis, as the Steelers play the Colts for the third time in three years.
Brown and Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton have been friends for long years. Both of them were coached in their football adolescence by Hilton’s father, Tyrone, though Brown has a couple of years on Hilton. Brown came into the league as a sixth-round draft pick in 2010.
Hilton came in as a third-round pick in 2012—one wonders if his draft stock had not increased in value due to what Brown and others of his size and stature accomplished in those two years in between.
The two receivers have gradually come to be similar players, though Hilton is used a bit more in the Colts’ long game, while Brown certainly has the clear advantage in terms of being a possession receiver. But what Brown is to Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers, Hilton very much is for Andrew Luck with the Colts.
The two have had the opportunity to meet up four times in the past two years—twice during Steelers games against the Colts, and twice during the Pro Bowl. Of course, Brown was not able to take advantage of that final Pro Bowl opportunity after he suffered a concussion.
Hilton hasn’t really liked when they have been able to see the same field. “It’s a team that just finds a way to beat us”, he said of the Steelers after the Colts have lost to them in consecutive seasons. “Right now it’s a different team, different mindset and we are looking forward to the game on Thursday”.
Of course, with Luck having been ruled out for the game, it will be quite difficult to foresee the Colts being able to overcome the Steelers in this one, though, of course, anything is possible, especially given that Pittsburgh has not exactly been a juggernaut this year.
Neither team has been where they want to be. The Steelers are obviously at 5-5 at the moment after finally finishing a game with a victory on Sunday, which was preceded by a four-game losing streak. The Colts, meanwhile, dominated the Titans on Sunday, but are only sitting at 5-5 right now as well.
Still, while things haven’t always been going as well as they would have liked this season on the field, they are looking forward to seeing each other once again. “We grew up together”, Hilton said about his relationship with Brown. “We call every other week. I can’t wait to see him again and go out there and play”.
On the season, in 10 games, Brown has caught 77 passes for 907 yards and seven touchdowns. Hilton has caught 57 passes for 888 yards and five touchdowns in the same amount of games.