WR Antonio Brown’s days as a Pittsburgh Steeler are long over, but the impact he had on his former teammates still lives on.
Many will remember AB for his antics that ultimately resulted in a split between he and the Steelers at the prime of his career, but several of his teammates remember Brown for his unrelenting work ethic and desire to be great on the football field.
DL Cameron Heyward talked about AB’s work ethic earlier this offseason, calling him the most talented teammate he’s ever had. QB Mason Rudolph echoed those sentiments, recently appearing as a guest on the Steel Here podcast hosted by Kevin Adams and Jersey Jerry which aired on Jersey Jerry’s YouTube channel and was asked about his time sharing the locker room with Antonio Brown.
“This guy’s work ethic was insane,” Rudolph said on the Steel Here podcast. “He was at training camp in ‘18, like waking up at 4:00 a.m. with his trainer doing Olympic lifts in the weight room, you know, power cleans and hang snatches and we heard stories of it. The janitor or the security guards are like, ‘Yeah, it’s 4:30 and a [AB’s] in the weight room.’ Like, you can’t take that away. As you said, Kevin, he was a six-round pick, grinder, and just the way he worked was incredible to watch.”
Rudolph and Brown were only teammates for one season in 2018, Mason Rudolph’s rookie season before Antonio Brown abruptly forced his way out of Pittsburgh via a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders. However, Rudolph recognized Brown for being one of the hardest workers he’s ever seen as a football player and called him a great teammate, setting an example to all the young guys on the team with his relentless work ethic.
Alex Kozora has mentioned in the past how much time Antonio Brown would put into honing his craft well before practice started or after practice ended, catching hundreds of passes on the JUGS machine well after the final whistle blew and his teammates started to leave the field. Rudolph mentioned AB being in the weight room at 4 a.m., going through some of the most technically refined lifting movements out there while his teammates were still sleeping. It’s a similar obsessive work ethic HOF WR Jerry Rice became known for, looking to get his work in while his competition was still sleeping.
As the saying goes, “success isn’t owned, it’s leased, and rent is due every day”. Antonio Brown understood this and committed to putting in the hard work that made him a former sixth-round draft pick to becoming the best receiver in the NFL for over half a decade, earning multiple Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods. Putting his antics and history aside, Antonio Brown was the ideal example when it comes to working for what you get for his teammates. Mason Rudolph saw it every day for a year, seeing the drive and determination of a player that yearned to be great.
Who knows whether or not AB will end up in Canton one day due to how his career has transpired, but there is no denying his work ethic and competitiveness made him a player to be considered for the Hall of Fame during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.