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Antonio Brown wearing full pads at practice to 'feel game-ready'

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown chose to wear pads for the Steelers' most recent OTAs, something he feels helps him get in better shape. It's leadership by example from the fifth-year All Pro receiver.

Rob Carr

Antonio Brown wasn't confused on the South Side recently. He was aware OTAs are not conducted in full pads.

He wore them anyway.

If you were to have viewed the most recent OTAs, you would have seen Antonio Brown on the field in a full uniform. Shoulder pads and padded pants, everything that he would be wearing when he suits up on Sundays at Heinz Field.

Pads aren't necessary at OTAs unless the individual chooses to do so, writes Tribune Review reporter Mark Kaboly, but Brown decided to make a statement.

"I want to stay in shape and protect my shoulders," he told Kaboly. "Anytime you come out here, you want to come out ready to play and feel as much game-ready as possible."

Maybe its the chip on his shoulder from being drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft, maybe its the fact that he is rarely in the discussion in regards to the best wide outs in the NFL or maybe its just a will to prove a point. Whatever it is, Antonio Brown's leadership style of "follow what I do", and less "listen to what I say" is exactly what the doctor ordered for this offense.

Antonio Brown is still considered a young player by NFL standards. However, in terms of leaders on the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense, put Brown at the top of the list.

Brown has stepped up when the team has needed him the most on the field, and now he is stepping up when the team needs him the most by being a leader on and off the field.

Brown has been a clutch player his entire career dating back to the famed "Helmet Catch" against the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the 2010 playoffs that eventually lead to a Super Bowl appearance for the Steelers. However, now its his work off the field that is more clutch than any catch he has ever made for the Steelers.

When Hines Ward left the Steelers there was no stand up leader for the offense. Ben Roethlisberger took on the role of captain by default as the veteran of the unit, but its now Brown that is the leader of a group that is young and full of potential.