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Young Steelers receivers paint picture of interactions with All-Pro Antonio Brown

Going from being the man in college to playing alongside an All-Pro can be intimidating. Just ask Quadree Henderson.

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Jacksonville at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

I can’t speak for you reading this article, but there has always been a part of me who would love to be a water boy for the Pittsburgh Steelers. You may laugh at such a suggestion and wonder why, but I would love to just be around the players. Inside the huddle asking guys if they need some hydration, on the sideline to listen to the jokes and coaching being done and ultimately to get an inside perspective on life within the Steelers.

The Steelers are one of the more closed off organizations in the NFL, and I always enjoy any type of inside look at the organization we all follow so closely. Like the picture Sean Gentille of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette paints about Quadree Henderson’s interactions with All-Pro Antonio Brown on the sideline.

You have to assume the transition from “the man” in college to being a diminutive rookie in the NFL has to be an intimidating demotion, and this certainly tale certainly supports such an assumption.

First, the backstory:

Henderson was on the sideline looking for a drink. In the back, he saw a few bottles of Essentia. It’s got a pH of 9.5! That makes it much better at hydrating than simple peasant water, or something! It soothes acid reflux and increases oxygen levels, or whatever! Try a six-pack, on sale at Target for the low price of $9.99!

In any case, Henderson scoped out the black-and-red bottle and realized that things worked a little differently on the other side of the South Side practice facility.

Which then resulted in the following:

“I said, ‘Man, y’all pouring Essentia in the coolers?’ And the trainer said, ‘No, that’s A.B.’s.’ And [Brown] heard me. I said to him, ‘Man, we didn’t have this at Pitt.’ And then he just kinda laughed. He said ‘You went to Pitt?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘What number were you?’ I said, ‘No. 10.’

“He said, ‘Oh, you a dawg. Did you get drafted?’ I said, ‘Naw, I didn’t get drafted.’ ”

“He said, ‘Aw, that’s crazy. You shoulda got drafted. You a dawg. I seen you returning them kicks and making big plays.’ I let him know that whenever he gets some work in the indoor [facility], I’m coming with him.”

To think how far removed Brown is of the team’s transactions might be the most comical of the entire story. Not knowing who Henderson was, whether he was drafted or that they shared a facility is pretty funny to me. But other young receivers have talked openly about how interactions with Brown are something they cherish.

“[Interactions with Brown have] been special because he’s a high-caliber guy. So we’re like, ‘This guy is really talking to me right now?’ ” James Washington said. “Everything he tells me, every piece of advice he gives me, I’m all ears. I’m trying to take every moment. If he’s on the field and I’m not in, I’m watching him, trying to learn his releases and [absorb] everything.”

“Everything he does, the man’s a Pro Bowler. As far as a young receiver, you wanna just soak up everything he says, listen to everything he says. Why does he run that? I’ll ask him some questions, and he’ll tell me,” Trey Griffey said. “Great guy to be around. Great team player. Helps out the receivers. He’s everything you want.”

“He’s the best receiver in the game, to me.” Henderson added. “Somebody that went in the sixth round, somebody that was slept on, you see all the hard work and dedication he put in over the past couple years to become one of the best receivers of all time. We’re similar height, similar speed. He just put in all the extra work after hours.”

All receivers, probably on other NFL teams, keep a close eye on Brown, and for good reason. The man is the best in the business for a reason, and these young Steelers receivers are soaking in every drop of wisdom which is offered.