He doesn’t cut hard enough. He won’t succeed against physical cornerbacks. He doesn’t have the skills to separate from defenders. He will only be able to play slot in the NFL. He is not a great route runner.
Those are just a couple of the things that were said about Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Antonio Brown before the 2010 NFL Draft. Many bought into those ideas, especially after Brown only came down with 16 catches for 167 yards in his rookie season. Of course, Brown was behind Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, Emmanuel Sanders, and Antwaan Randle El that year.
The following season, however, Brown skyrocketed to the No. 2 wide receiver behind Wallace, and hauled in 67 catches for 1,108 yards. Heading into the 2012 season, Wallace decided to hold out from training camp, unhappy with his contract situation.
The Steelers saw Brown’s potential and locked him up instead of entertaining Wallace. The rest, as they say, is history. Brown has taken the league by storm ever since.
Anyone who has followed AB on social media over the years recognizes the time and commitment he has put in to be successful. The Steelers have been blessed with a hardworking, dedicated, once in a generation type of player. So many people didn’t expect to get much from the guy. To many, he was a 6th round pick who probably wouldn’t pan out. Boy, were those people wrong. Brown is now only a couple successful seasons away from passing Ward on the all-time Steelers all-time receiving yardage list.
His critics early on have been proven wrong due to his hard work. He is one of, if not, the toughest receivers to guard in the entire National Football League. His route running continues to leave many in awe and his separation skills are second to none. He has proven that he can line up outside or in the slot, and get open no matter what.
It was announced yesterday that Antonio Brown was the only player to be voted to the AP First Team All-Pro team unanimously. The honor of being placed on the AP First Team All-Pro team has become almost something to expect for Brown as he has now made the team four times. This year, however, was the first season that the votes for Brown were unanimous. It didn’t matter to voters that he missed the last two and a half games of the regular season. His dominance and brilliance on the field was properly recognized.
His career, thus far, is one to appreciate. He is the most dominant wide receiver under 6 feet tall that many have ever seen play. When all is said and done, he could be considered, pound for pound, one of the best wide receivers of all time.
It all began with a 5’10 wide receiver from Central Michigan having more people doubt him than believe in him. Brown has worked his butt off since and this past season has been another year of Brown proving that.
Brown’s career has much more in store and I’m sure the next achievement that he would love to cross off the list would be a Super Bowl victory in 2018.