It’s fair to say that former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has lived an adventurous life, especially since arriving in the NFL. His first-ever touch was a touchdown. He became the first player in NFL history to record 1000 receiving and return yards in the same season in year two—his cleats from that year are in the Hall of Fame.
And that was just the beginning. But at least the NFL chapter of his story appears to have come to an end, or so he says. Not even two weeks since he suddenly Tweeted that he wanted to retire as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown recently gave an interview that came out that made it clear he doesn’t intend to continue to play in this league.
“Obviously, we live the game, but you can’t play forever”, he said during a sideline interview amid a Fan-Controlled Football league game. “I think I’m a great player that’s done everything in the game”. Asked if fans would see him playing next season, he said, “Nah, don’t play yourself looking at me to play”.
Looks like AB is definitely NOT planning on suiting up next season 👀
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) May 29, 2022
Brown was drafted out of Central Michigan in the sixth round in 2010. He played sparingly as a rookie, but recorded over 1000 yards in year two as he quickly became a favored target of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger—what would prove to be a tumultuous but highly productive relationship over the course of his nine-year tenure in Pittsburgh.
In 130 games, 103 starts, Brown caught 837 passes with the Steelers over nine seasons, recording 11,207 receiving yards and 74 touchdowns. While still at the height of his game at age 30, he forced his way off the team during the 2019 offseason, in an effort spearheaded by agent Drew Rosenhaus, that saw him traded to the Raiders.
As you might recall, he got himself released before the start of the regular season, and suddenly was a free agent for the first time in his career. He signed with the New England Patriots, but played only one game before outside pressure forced them to release him amid multiple lawsuits, including one in which he was accused of intimidating an accuser.
It took a year for the smoke to clear, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—now with Tom Brady at quarterback—to give him another chance in 2020. He served a lengthy suspension to start the year, but ended up being a key player in their Super Bowl run, earning him his first and only ring.
Brown played seven games for the Buccaneers last season, and was publicly fired in-game under circumstances that remain not entirely clear, which prompted him to walk off the field, shedding his gear in the process. Truly a fitting end to a career that was defined by spectacle—both good and bad.
If this is it for Brown in the NFL, soon to be 34 years old, it was certainly a hell of a career, and perhaps a Hall of Fame one, if weighed only by what he accomplished between the whistles.
“I do what I want,” Brown said. “Obviously, I’m a 12-year veteran, one of the best players of all time. My job is to live. Life is about living. We all gonna die. It’s not for you to find out about what I’m going to do. Obviously, I’m a rapper. I do shows. I’m an independent businessman. Business is booming.”