There are few relationships in professional sports between two positions that shares a greater bond than that between a quarterback and his wide receivers—especially his number one wide receiver. And when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team has never before been blessed with such a combination as Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown.
Roethlisberger, the quarterback, came to the team in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He already won two Super Bowls with the team by the time the Steelers drafted Brown in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and they went back to the championship game his rookie season, though he lost.
He has since then made steady progress, first up the depth chart, then into the record books, in the six years since then, becoming a fixture on the All-Pro list. And he knows how much Roethlisberger has meant to his success—and vice versa.
So it should go without saying that he is glad to see the quarterback chose to return for at least one more year. He admitted to reporters yesterday that he was in Roethlisberger’s ear a bit while he was contemplating his future, trying to put positive thoughts in his head.
A reporter asked Brown about how their careers have intertwined and if Roethlisberger’s future was a consideration when he signed his own new extension with the team early in this offseason—which came before the quarterback made it official that he was going to return.
“He’s my guy”, he said about Roethlisberger. “Absolutely” he thought about the quarterback’s future when he signed his deal. “I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else. The thing with him leaving is kind of discouraging, but this game is not forever. You can’t play it forever, but you prepare like it’s our last”, he said.
“But I’m excited to see he’s already committed, rejuvenating everyone just for being here”, Brown went on to say. And Roethlisberger also talked about how participating in OTAs and being around some of the younger players helps to rejuvenate him as well.
Pretty much every player who was asked to comment about Roethlisberger since he decided to come back in 2017 has given some sort of answer to the effect that it is a big boost for the morale of the team. But few can say that it so directly affects their own play the way it does for Brown.
Chances are, whether he wants to or not, Brown is going to finish his career playing with another quarterback, whether he is currently on the roster or not. But for now, he is just going to relish the opportunity to continue to work with the only quarterback who has ever thrown him a touchdown pass throughout his seven-year career—all 50 of them, the most between any one quarterback and wide receiver in team history.