You may have noticed early in last week’s game against the Dolphins that after Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown scored a touchdown on the team’s opening drive, he was shown prior to the ensuing kickoff sitting on the team’s bench sporting a hat emblazoned with the number 92 of James Harrison on it.
During the week that followed, he gave an explanation for why he was wearing Deebo’ winter gear.
“He’s always wearing a skull cap during the game”, he told Teresa Varley for the Steelers’ website. “When he is in, I am out, so I wore it to keep his presence on the sideline. You know what his presence brings”.
Harrison certainly had a presence in Sunday’s victory over the Dolphins, registering 10 total tackles in addition to a sack and a half, one of which produced a fumble inside the red zone that helped the defense keep points off the board in a game that still could have gone either way heading into halftime.
When the Steelers go through their weekly pre-game walkthroughs on Saturdays, Varley writes, Brown is regularly cited wearing the jersey of inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who has recorded an interception in three consecutive games heading into today’s game against the Chiefs.
“I wear Shazier’s jersey” he said. “He is one of the great players on our defense. He doesn’t get as much recognition as he should”. Just yesterday I wrote about how the former first-round draft pick’s commitment to film study helps keep his mind as quick on the field as his legs, and helps make those impact plays come together through the combination of the two.
“I just want to support my guys”, Brown said of him sporting the gear of his defensive teammates this season. “It’s an honor to watch the way our defense plays, see them make plays. It pays dividends for our team”.
I would like to think, although I can’t necessarily verify, that the Steelers have a more unified locker room than most, that doesn’t spend so much time dividing one another between their roles on the team. It helps to have transcendent figures in the locker room such as Harrison to bring together players from all sides of the ball into a greater sense of team.
Brown is clearly at a point in his career in which he understands just what it is that he wants, and what it takes to get there. He certainly still puts up the numbers—he was once again a first-team All-Pro wide receiver—but he knows numbers are just numbers, and what he wants is hardware.
The Steelers tasted the Super Bowl in Brown’s rookie season, and he even made a couple of plays during the postseason run to help get them there, but they also tasted defeat, and it would be another three years before they would even win a playoff game again. Brown is hungry to get back to the Super Bowl and change the outcome this time around, and he knows it takes the whole team to get there.