I mentioned in an article recently that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has a realistic shot of reaching 10,000 receiving yards, becoming the 46th player in NFL history to do so, by the end of the year. What I did not realize at the time that I wrote that was that, should he do so, he would tie an NFL record with Calvin Johnson as the fastest player ever to reach that mark.
As I mentioned, he actually just tied Johnson in the last game with his 11 receptions in that career mark, as they both now have 731 for their career, the 43rd-most in NFL history. But Johnson did more with his 731 career receptions (in an extra season-plus) than has Brown, as the former finished his career with 11,619 receiving yards, 29th-most.
Now, chances are actually quite good that Brown could pass that mark by Johnson by the end of next season, which would also be his ninth, the length of time Johnson played (from 2007 through the 2015 season).
By the end of next year, he may even put Hines Ward’s franchise record of 12,083 yards under threat, with 19 games in which to do it. He would need to average 116 yards per game…which just so happens to be exactly what he is averaging this season.
That is also about what he needs tomorrow in order to reach 10,000 yards. He enters the day with 9,886, needing 114 more to hit that mark. He has hit that number in three of the past four games, and six times overall this year, coming close a seventh time.
The game against the Patriots will be the 115th of Brown’s career, the same number of games in which Johnson hit the 10,000-yard mark. He just edged out Torry Holt, who reached that milestone in his 116th game. Holt currently ranks 16th all-time with 13,382 receiving yards.
Next on the list after those two is Lance Alworth, the old great with the Chargers. Alworth—who, it has to be noted, played in the era of 14-game seasons—recorded 10,266 receiving yards in his 11-year career, averaging 74.9 yards per game. He twice averaged over 100 yards per game in a single season, with a high of 114.4. His career per-game average is still the 10th-most all-time.
Brown’s average is currently the third-highest ever, bettered only by two younger peers, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham, Jr. Jones still has another season at least before he can hit 10,000, however, and Beckham isn’t even in the top 250 in yardage yet.
Rounding out the current top five fastest players to hit 12,000 career receiving yards are Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison, doing so in 121 and 122 games, respectively. Brown will virtually inevitably bump Harrison out of the top five.
What I always feel obliged to point out in these longitudinal stats pertaining to Brown is that he was nearly a non-factor in his rookie season, putting him at a major disadvantage, and yet he has caught up. He had just 167 yards on 16 catches in nine games during his rookie season, and was still not even a starter during year two, despite having a 1000-yard season.
If you take out his rookie season, then Brown is averaging 6.8 receptions per game and 92.6 receiving yards per game in his career. That jumps up to 7.3 and 96.8, the latter of which would top Jones as the highest ever, the former of which I can only assume is the most, considering he’s been the fastest to reach the last several plateaus, most recently 700 receptions.