The life of an NFL player isn’t as easy and breezy as many might assume. Some heavy burdens are placed on the broad shoulders of these men who play a brutal game for a living, and sometimes the weight of those demands might become too much.
This offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers has been relatively quiet (I just knocked on wood for those superstitious readers out there), but one player has seemed “off” on more than one occasion. It shouldn’t surprise anyone this player is the same one who puts himself out there most often on several social media platforms.
None other than Antonio Brown.
When a player as prolific as Brown is as active as he is on social media, you’re given a front-row view into his life. The workouts, the meals, the family — everything. After a while, a player can feel as though he lives in a fish bowl, with everyone peering in. But again, that’s a self-imposed impression.
Brown could just as easily not be so active on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, but he’s building something bigger than the Steelers and football. At least for him, he’s building a brand. If you’re like me and you follow AB on almost all of those platforms, you’ve noticed some very strange behavior going on the past few weeks. Let’s just say the man is dealing with some stuff off of the field.
Regardless, though, this has never stopped Brown from showing up and being his best on game days. Yet, that’s exactly what happened after the team’s first two Organized Team Activities (OTAs) workouts, when Brown didn’t show for the final eight sessions. Even though they’re voluntary, this was very unlike Brown. On the first day of minicamp, Brown showed up and did a lot of talking.
Take a look at some of his media session Tuesday:
Antonio Brown spoke to the media before our first minicamp practice. pic.twitter.com/mfgq73w1cy— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 12, 2018
Rather than try to decipher what Brown said to reporters, you can take a look at what they posted after the media session regarding why Brown missed OTAs, who’s to blame and other tidbits from the All-Pro receiver:
Antonio Brown on why he skipped final 8 OTA sessions: "I needed little personal time for myself to get my mind right. The game requires a lot of mental happiness, the older you get the more you think about what is important."— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) June 12, 2018
Antonio Brown: "I started to think what's important. Am I playing football to make a lot of money or am I playing football to take care of my family? Those are some of the decisions I think about when I come in here every day."— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) June 12, 2018
More AB: “I took a moment to get my mind right [during OTAs]. It’s not even serious. It’s not even mandatory. It’s volunteer. You guys create a story about how I don’t want to throw with rookie QBs. It’s all about you guys making people a marked man when it’s not even like that.”— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) June 12, 2018
AB:"I am constantly under pressure. Can't go anywhere and work out by myself, fans meet me at the field. Can't do anything normal. You guys write about me every day and my mom and kids see it so we have to deal with these types of things and I start to think ... am I really free?— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) June 12, 2018
Here's AB on Le'Veon's situation: ou guys write about it and say 'Oh, AB says to show up. I just say the first rule of getting better is show up. I didn't say he got to show up. He's got his own business." #Steelers— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) June 12, 2018
So, there’s a lot to digest here, and none of it really even revolves around the sport of football. After the media session and practice, Brown explained himself in further detail to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Antonio Brown clarified his media position to ESPN while serving at a local food bank on behalf of Campbell’s Chunky Soup. pic.twitter.com/zF1BqVynLS— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) June 12, 2018
The team did practice today, and there wasn’t much actual news coming out of the session...not after Brown spoke prior to practice. Nonetheless, take a look at some other stuff that went down after Minicamp Day 1.
Coach Tomlin recaps our first day of work at minicamp. pic.twitter.com/6Ytbw2qi3a— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 12, 2018