For the past five years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have largely only gone as far as their Killer Bs—that is, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, and wide receiver Antonio Brown—were able to take them. With Bell not here, one would think that even more responsibility would fall on Brown.
The continuing emergence of second-year wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has somewhat mitigated the need for Brown to put up huge numbers on a weekly basis, of course, but there has still been some frustration over the slow-developing connection between him and Roethlisberger.
We all remember the ‘trade me’ Tweet. We remember the talk with the media after the fact in which he talked about a lack of winning as the source of his frustration rather than the numbers. The Steelers are finally coming off a win, and of course he was still asked about his numbers, but his tone was different.
“My statistics are already there. I’ve already done everything from a statistical point”, he told reporters, indicating that there is nothing left for him to prove in his career, other than winning. “Obviously, it’s out of my control. I can’t throw it to myself”.
Not that he has to throw it to himself, because Roethlisberger has always been willing and eager to oblige. That connection has been off so far, but it matters far less in a win than it does in a loss.
“What’s important is we continue to win”, he said. “I’m getting a lot of respect out there. Guys are doubling me, tripling me. But what’s new? We’ve got to continue to win. Winning is most important. Obviously I think I’m the top-rated receiver from 2010 who’s [still] in the league. It’s all about winning at this point”.
These comments are nothing new from Brown. He expressed similar sentiments in recent years as his personal bona fides have continued to rise beyond his peers. He already has a number of firsts that will be hard to take away from him—fastest to 750 receptions, first with five consecutive 100-catch seasons, etc.—and doesn’t need to convince anybody of his abilities. He just wants the trophy.
“It’s all about winning a championship, getting in the Hall of Fame. It’s bigger than me. Bigger than stats”, he told reporters. “I’m trying to do something special. As long as we continue to win, the number will add up themselves. I’m still doing my job, regardless of if the ball is coming. I’m still running full speed, being a professional. Just gotta continue to do what’s right”.