One of the perks of the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting any wide receiver is that when they are brought into the fold, they get an opportunity to learn from the best in the business, that being Antonio Brown, who has consistently ranked among the very best wide receivers every year for about half a decade or so now.
Among those who have gotten the chance to watch the great one demonstrate his tireless work ethic are Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates, and now JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington over the course of the past two drafts.
It seems to me rather clear that nobody has taken more from his time with Brown than has Smith-Schuster, who is off to a very nice start in his career. He is well on his way toward breaking team record for the most receptions and receiving yards in his first two seasons, though it’s unlikely he can reach the record for touchdown receptions.
“Having a guy like Antonio Brown, I’m able to learn from him”, the second-year wide receiver said during a recent appearance on ESPN, snippets from which we have already discussed on here a time or two. “I take a lot of little things that he does, on the field, off the field”.
Host Stephen A. Smith asked him to clarify if he was talking about things that Brown specifically told him or that he learned by watching him work, and Smith-Schuster confirmed that he meant the latter.
”Antonio Brown is an older guy, he has kids”, he allowed. “It’s a lot of me just watching him and what he does and just taking notes. There’s a few things that he’ll tell me, like ‘you’ve got to release like this or that way’, but other than that, the guy is unbelievable, and I’m just trying to learn from the best”.
As a rookie second-round pick in 2017, Smith-Schuster caught 58 passes in 14 games played for 917 yards and seven touchdowns, the middle figure setting a new team record. In six games this year, he already has 42 receptions for 561 yards, though he would like to improve upon his touchdown total of just two.
He would also, evidently, like to increase the strength of his toes and the texture of his feet, based on what he told his host of what other lessons he has taken from his time working with Brown.
“He has this thing where he puts—you know when you go to get your nails done, they put this thing between your legs. So this one, he like uses it to strengthen his toes. He puts lotion on his feet because he doesn’t want it to get stuck together, his feet basically grabbing”.
I will leave it up to you to imagine how this might be useful for a wide receiver.