Former Steelers OL: I Think AB Will Get Another Shot

Willie Colon believes we'll see Antonio Brown in the NFL again, but he needs to "be a better teammate" than he was in Pittsburgh

April 07, 2020 - 8:04 am
Antonio Brown Mike Tomlin Steelers

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Antonio Brown has hired NFL agent Ed Wasielewski, as he attempts another comeback to the league. Brown, who played in just one game in 2019, is the subject of multiple NFL investigations, any of which could result in suspension.

It’s been a precipitous fall from grace for one of the best players in the world. 

“It’s tough watching him because I remember AB when he walked into the locker room, and he had an even-steven haircut, big eyes, big bright smile – a kid that, every day he got on the field, he maximized it,” former Steelers offensive lineman Willie Colon told JR SportBrief. “I’ve met a lot of athletes and you meet a lot of workout warriors. But that kid works his tail off. He really does. Day in and day out, there’s not a minute I’ve seen him or was around him that he wasn’t putting in work. I really believe that.”

In recent years, however, Brown lost his way. He forced his way out of Pittsburgh, didn’t play a single game for the Raiders, and lasted just one game in New England.

“I don’t know when the switch happened,” Colon said. “Now he’s a villain, right? He’s portrayed as a villain. But that wasn’t the Antonio Brown I met or who I grew to love. I grew to love his older son and his daughter. On Saturdays, Mike Tomlin would open the locker room for a lot of men to bring their kids in so they could be around the field and be around the facilities. He would bring his kids – young AB and his daughter. AB was a young guy, who, we honestly all rooted for because we knew his story. He was a low-round draft pick, we knew the story about his dad, about his hard upbringing, and we all really pulled for him.”

Then things went sideways. Colon, who played for the Steelers from 2006 to 2012, heard stories about Brown from former teammates.

They weren’t pretty.

“The stories that I would hear, man, it was disturbing because that’s not the guy I fell in love with, man,” Colon said. “To see the things on social media and the character, that’s not the AB [I knew]. It’s not one of those situations where I want AB to fall in line. No, I’m okay with receivers being their brand. That has nothing to do with it. I just want him to be mentally healthy and be a better teammate than he was to a lot of guys on the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think a lot of guys rooted for him. I think a lot of things went the wrong way, for whatever reason. I don’t think it’s all AB. But if he does get this third opportunity or whatever – fourth opportunity – that he really goes back to playing football. He’s a great talent, man. He’s a special kid. . . . I think we’ll see him.”