There is not a great deal left yet that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has not yet accomplished. He managed to be drafted as an unheralded underclassman. He made an NFL roster. He scored on the first touch of his career. He made a big play in the playoffs as a rookie.
The list of accomplishments goes on. He became the first player in NFL history to record 1000 receiving yards and 1000 return yards in his second season, making the Pro Bowl as a returner. That earned him a long-term contract before he was even a full-time starter.
From that point on he ascended into superstardom, becoming arguably the best wide receiver in the game, a perennial All-Pro who is routinely blowing by records. He has caught more passes over the span of the past four seasons than anybody else has in the history of the game.
He cashed in big, becoming the highest-paid player at his position, following a season in which he scored 14 touchdowns, including the first two of his career in the postseason. He joined a very small fraternity of wide receivers who have recorded a 100-yard game in four consecutive postseason contests. He even checked off the box of playing in a Super Bowl during his rookie season.
The only thing left to accomplish is to get that ring.
“My focus now”, Brown said yesterday in his first opportunity to address the media since signing his historic contract, is the live up to all the other Steelers greats at his position in “having had an opportunity to win a Super Bowl”.
“For me, that is the ultimate goal every year, to go out and see if I can win a ring. I am excited about that process”, he continued. “I am excited to be a Steeler. As a Steeler, we desire to win championships”.
The Steelers got as close to one as they had been since the 2010 season, Brown’s rookie year, during which they reached the Super Bowl two years after winning one, only to fall to the Packers. They reached the AFC Championship game during the 2016 season a year after reaching the Divisional Round.
Part of the reason that the Steelers were comfortable in giving Brown this contract was simply his tireless work ethic, which is simply something that you cannot fake. He puts it on display on a routine basis during his every visit to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, in meetings, in the weight room, in practice.
He may have had his off-field and on-field antics that others outside the organization have painted as significant distractions, but nobody sees more than his teammates and coaches, and the ownership, the sort of dedication that he has to his job, and his drive to win a championship, and to bring another championship to the organization that gave him a chance in the sixth round in 2010. We are a long way from the “two dogs, one bone” days between himself and Emmanuel Sanders.