The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2017 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Nevertheless, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.
Player: Antonio Brown
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 8 Years
Is there really anything left to be said about Antonio Brown, a former sixth-round draft pick who has turned himself into not just a perennial representative of the first-team All-Pro team, but the greatest player at his position?
Outside of his team-oriented goal of winning as many Super Bowls as possible, the only other aspect of his legacy that appears to be at stake is simply questions of longevity, both of the duration of his peak and of the overall length of his career as a meaningful contributor. At the moment, he is undoubtedly setting a pace that will take him into the halls of Canton.
The 2017 season was yet another superlative performance from Brown, who in spite of the fact that he was limited to just 13 and a half games still managed to lead the league in receiving yardage. It was the second time in his career that he has done that, and that does not include the year he had 1834 yards, which is the fourth-most in a single season in NFL history.
He did set an NFL record by becoming the first player in NFL history to record at least 100 receptions in five consecutive seasons. Next year, he can tie Brandon Marshall for the most seasons in total with 100 or more receptions with six.
It was an interesting year, though in which his production came in spurts. He had 182 yards in the season opener, then 62. Then 110 and 34, followed by 157, 155 followed by 65. It’s not entirely clear why it varied so much, but he really took off at the end.
Excluding his final game of the regular season, in which he was injured, Brown was on a tear over his final five games. He had at least 7 receptions for over 100 yards in each, totaling 48 receptions for 759 yards and eight touchdowns.
It’s hard to fathom the notion that there is still any more room for improvement from Brown, but if there is, it will have to come from Darryl Drake rather than Richard Mann, who retired. Drake just so happened to be Marshall’s position coach when he had his best season, and has also overseen Larry Fitzgerald’s late-career renaissance.