Antonio Brown has come a long way since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. A long way since returning a kickoff for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans, the first time he touched the football in the NFL. A long way since the famed 'helmet catch' against the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs in 2010.
Brown has become an elite wide receiver in the NFL, and that's in large part due to the work he puts in off of the field which epitomizes the phrase 'practice makes perfect'.
"He’s a finisher," cornerback Ike Taylor told Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He is always finishing the play. Coach has to tell him to come back to the huddle. If he catches a slant in practice, he runs 70 yards down the field. We have to wait on him to jog back. He is the ultimate finisher. He finishes every play. When you see him make the plays in the game, you say, ‘Oh, that’s A.B. That’s what he does.’"
Taylor would know about Brown's work ethic and his abilities on the field. Seemingly, it was always Taylor and Brown who have been a part of many training camp fights during Brown's tenure with the team.
"He’s a big dog," offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. "Every time you put a year like last year out there, it raises the bar. I think he understands that. He’s going against one of the best cornerbacks in the league this week in Joe Haden. That’s a great challenge for him, and one I know he’s excited about."
Brown has always shined when the lights burn the brightest, and going up against a player like Joe Haden certainly will put an emphasis on Brown as a player, and that's something players like Brown always enjoy being a part of.
The Steelers will be relying on Brown for another big season, even if his numbers don't match up with those that he produced in 2013. Nonetheless, Brown is a player the Steelers need for 16 games if they want to end their streak of .500 seasons and make it back to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.