Antonio Brown is a long way off from where he started. Growing up in a dangerous Miami community that was checkered with gang activity and violence, it is reasonable to assume that there were aspects of his younger life that were not easy to navigate. He has talked about that over the years.
He spent different periods of his younger life living with either his mother or his father. He lived in Albany with ‘Touchdown’ Eddie Brown, the greatest Arena League player in the history of the game, for a time. Then he moved in with his mother in Miami when Brown’s Arena team relocated to Indianapolis.
But at some point he found himself without a place to call home after his mother kicked him out. He lived with friends for a time, and he ultimately ended up with a scholarship to Central Michigan. That is when he began to repair his strained relationship with his father.
Eddie Brown was recently interviewed by the Indy Star about his life 14 years after retiring from the game, and much of the end of the piece was dedicated to his relationship with his NFL star of a son. One thing that they always shared, and still share, is football.
He recalled in an article a time when he first attended one of his son’s games in college. “I remember going onto the field after one of his games against Ball State”, he said. “He gave an interview after the game, then walked by me like he didn’t even know who I was”.
“But the next week, I went down to Western Michigan to watch him play again. I wanted to be accessible and ready to talk. Tony and I were finally able to have that conversation we needed to have. Once we did, and he was at a mature level to understand, it was great”.
He admits in so many words that there are things he could have done differently for Antonio. He talked about how “grateful” he was “to get that relationship back” with his son after he moved with his mother. “But there’s going to come a time when your son is going to say to you, ‘Where the F were you, Dad?’”, he said.
Today, however, they have a relationship, and even somewhat of a working one. To this day, Antonio Brown calls his father after every game in order to get his critiques about what he did well and what he needs to work on.
Eddie understands how important this is. “He wants me to analyze the game he just played. He wants to know what I saw, what he did good, what he did bad. I have to do my homework so those can be good conversations”.
I don’t know how much his advice has helped to turn Antonio Brown into the ‘Touchdown’ maker of his own accord, but either way, he has quite a son to be proud of—and grandchildren to boot.