At this point in the game, I ordinarily wouldn’t waste time talking about yet another thing that former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has said. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve passed over plenty of opportunities to talk about him since he was traded officially.
Yesterday, however, he seemed to take a shot of sorts at his former teammate, JuJu Smith-Schuster. After the second-year wide receiver took to Twitter to throw his support behind his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, of whom Browns has been highly critical, the latter Tweeted (or sub-Tweeted) a message essentially saying that players in Smith-Schuster’s position are not to be believed.
— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) March 26, 2019
“I was so blessed to enter the league and play with a Hall of Fame QB as a 20-year old”, Smith-Schuster wrote on Twitter on Monday. “Ben has taught me so much, he’s a true Leader and I can’t to rock with my guy this season”.
Brown has explicitly questioned Roethlisberger’s leadership, as well as a great deal of other qualities that the quarterback supposedly has or lacks. In the past, he has noted that he has made comments in the public to ‘be a good teammate’, or something to that effect.
So, I’m guessing after he read what Smith-Schuster and others (such as James Conner and Ryan Switzer) said of Roethlisberger, Brown posted on Twitter to say, “do not listen to any NFL player who haven’t got paid yet!. They will do and say anything to make sure they going to get paid even if it’s compromising integrity or anything ! sad but true”.
While there is no doubt a lot of truth to what he says—not just in football but in all walks of life—his statement really makes clear two things: he’s implying that he said a lot of things he never meant of the years; and it’s virtually impossible for him to believe that anybody else would be sincere.
Brown, who now is the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history and has a good chunk of guaranteed money in his future to look forward to thanks to his blonde mustache and unscrupulous agent, clearly feels empowered to speak, because he has that security.
Frankly, in the aftermath of The Antonio Brown Situation™, many have been ‘keeping an eye on’ Smith-Schuster, so to speak, wondering how he would develop. Brown would similarly portray himself as a deferent figure early in his career and often say the right things.
Then again, at least some of his teammates at the time saw through it, such as Ryan Clark, who talked about seeing the change after he got his first contract extension heading into his third season back in 2012.
He said that money only makes you more of who you already are. This is who Brown is. it’s not who Larry Fitzgerald or Heath Miller or Troy Polamalu were. Let’s hope it won’t be who Smith-Schuster is, either.