Friday, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Antonio Brown joined the Cigar Talk podcast and opened up about playing behind Hall of Famer Hines Ward back in 2010, being a late round (sixth) draft pick, and what it was like receiving his first big pay day in the NFL.
Being the 195th overall draft pick just over a decade ago, Brown was grateful for being drafted where he was as opposed to possibly being taken higher.
“Nothing is given. You have to work for every thing you have. I’m actually grateful for going late in the draft because it allowed me to be disciplined in regards to some of the other guys getting opportunities early, getting a lot of money early. But I don’t regret nothin’ from my situation and how it happened. In life, you got to make the most of your situation, and not make excuses, and be able to overcome adversity. I think going late-round kept me hungry to keep goal driven, to stay motivated, and accomplish my goals.”
When it came to playing behind arguably the best Steelers receiver of all-time in Ward, Brown knew that it was just a matter of time before he would take the spotlight.
“I’m trying to tell him, ‘Hurry up and get out the way [laughs].’ I’m trying to pave my own time. But just grateful to be around him and learn the intangibles of what made him great. But you know, when you in the NFL, it’s time to pave your own way, set your own principles. You know what I mean? At that point — Hines Ward was not the same guy I looked at in college … It’s my time, I’m going to take his spot. Like he need to be on the bench and watching me play.”
When asked about his role as a backup receiver early on in his career, Brown talked about how he just needed to focus on the opportunities that were given to him.
“You got to know your role. First off in life, you got to know who you are and what situation you in. You know, I understand as a sixth round pick, I ain’t going to get a chance to be a starter right away at receiver. So I have to make the most of my opportunities on special teams — punt return, kick return, whatever I had to do for the team to carve out my role. …I knew I probably wasn’t going to play as much as I wanted to, but that’s a part of the journey. It’s not about short-term, it’s about the long-term. Eventually when I get my chance, I just understood that you got to take advantage and you got to own the moment, because it’s not a long time, but you got to make the time worth it.”
Antonio Brown, the franchise player
When it was finally time for Brown to be “the man” in Pittsburgh, he was ready, and just wanted to represent his brand the best way he knew how.
“To much is given, much is tested and required. It’s a lot of responsibility. You just got to set the standard in whatever you represent. For me, it was representing ‘Business is Boomin” in regards of taking care of my business on the field, I was being in shape, I was being able to be a player at a high level. And I was just being a good example of the way I went to work for guys that worked around me. So, you know it comes with a lot of responsibility, comes with a lot of discipline you got to have for the team to have success. And you got to want to embrace it.”
Love him or hate him, Brown has done it his way from the jump. Watch the full clip here.
Thoughts on Browns’ comments? Click to comment below!