When you are good at what you do, you tend to have others who come after you attempt to emulate you in the hopes of replicating your success. A number of young football players that come out of college today talk about watching some Pittsburgh Steelers players like running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Of course, you don’t have to be in college to draw influence from an NFL player. Washington wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, for example, credits Brown for helping him transition from quarterback to wide receiver after years of refusing to attempt to make the conversion.
The two have worked out in the offseason on prior occasions. The two worked out together, in fact, all the way back in 2011, the year that Pryor came out of college and was taken in the Supplemental Draft by the Raiders…as a quarterback.
Years later, after he finally accepted the reality that there was no long-term future for him in the league as a quarterback, Pryor began to transition to wide receiver, and he leaned on Brown to help him with that process of committing to the change.
It resulted in a big year in 2016 for him with the Browns, putting up over 1000 yards on 77 receptions with four touchdowns while playing with five different quarterbacks over the course of the season. He even was asked to throw the ball a time or two.
He parlayed that effort into a one-year prove-it deal with Washington that never the less was still worth $8 million. While that may be far less than the $17 million per season extension that Brown signed, he is clearly making progress, and he credits the Steelers receiver for helping him.
“From a receiver standpoint, I didn’t know what the little things were until I worked out with Antonio Brown” he said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Talk about a freak mind, like a weirdo freak in terms of everything has to be perfect”.
Pryor said that “watching Antonio work out changed my mindset of how you’re supposed to be as a wideout. He’ll do three or four reps in a row and take a break because he wants the next rep to be perfect. That’s all you want to do is chase perfection”.
While many have raised issues about his maturity over the years, none can argue that Brown has always served as an excellent leader by example. It is difficult to find anybody who works harder at his craft than he does.
From high-school quarterback, having never run a route before, to a sixth-round draft pick as an underclassman, to first-team All-Pro and finally, the highest-paid player at his position, Brown has had an interesting and impressive journey. Pryor’s journey has certainly been interesting as well, and he owes the Steelers receiver thanks.