We have now learn the primary half of this guide earlier than. A comparatively unknown receiver rises to stardom with a well-liked NFL franchise, solely to have a messy fallout with that franchise earlier than he calls for a change of surroundings. That forces the group to weigh the participant’s expertise in opposition to the potential injury to locker-room and front-office chemistry.
We watched this actual situation unfold with Corridor of Fame receiver Terrell Owens in San Francisco 15 years in the past. Now Brown has an opportunity to study classes from Owens’ profession path.
The primary halves of the careers of Owens and Brown have been virtually precisely the identical. In Owens’ first eight seasons, he produced 8,579 yards and 79 touchdowns for the 49ers and led the NFL in landing catches twice.
Owens, nevertheless, ultimately wore out his welcome in San Francisco with coaches Steve Mariucci and Dennis Erickson. He was fined for celebrations. He berated offensive coordinator Greg Knapp throughout a sideline tantrum and was overly essential of quarterback Jeff Garcia.
Now, substitute Mariucci and Erickson with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Substitute Knapp with former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and Garcia with QB Ben Roethlisberger. Add Brown’s cases of going AWOL and an overdose of Twitter, and you’ve got the Brown cleaning soap opera.
Brown has 11,207 receiving yards and 74 receiving touchdowns, together with a league-best 15 receiving scores final season. He has led the league in receptions and yards twice. So far in his profession, Brown has been extra productive than Owens was, and that claims one thing.
Brown additionally has been an even bigger headache for his group than Owens was, and that claims much more.
Brown actively shopped himself to different groups on social media and took a gradual stream of cryptic, passive-aggressive pictures on the group. (Which, in fact, managed the place he would play subsequent.)
It’s OK to respect Brown’s needs to proceed his profession elsewhere, particularly after watching how the Le’Veon Bell state of affairs unfolded in Pittsburgh. It’s equally truthful to label Brown a self-centered diva who has not dealt with his state of affairs in a mature vogue.
Now the blame shall be pie-charted amongst Brown, Rooney, Tomlin and Roethlisberger for years to return, and with it, the query shall be requested: How did the Roethlisberger-Bell-Brown trio fail to supply a Tremendous Bowl championship?
Honest or not, Brown will take a major chunk of that blame, and in Pittsburgh, no quantity of Twitter ratios or #Boomin hashtags will tilt that notion. There’ll at all times be an appreciation for what Brown achieved with the Steelers, however he won’t ever be universally cherished after such an unceremonious exit.
And, like Owens did, Brown will discover he can not change that.
Owens initially was traded from San Francisco to Baltimore, however he protested the commerce as a result of it was made in the future after he was purported to turn into a free agent. It is an easy-to-forget vignette in Owens’ profession given all the extra drama that adopted. He ended up in Philadelphia as a part of a three-way commerce.
Equally, Brown appeared to work in opposition to Pittsburgh — not with it — to discover a new vacation spot. He reportedly rejected a proposed commerce to the Payments two days earlier than the Steelers and Raiders agreed on a midnight swap.
Now, like Owens did with the Eagles, Brown instantly must have a monster season with the Raiders. Like Brown will in July, Owens turned 31 in 2004, a season by which he completed with 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Eagles completed 13-3, and Owens’ one-legged efficiency in a Tremendous Bowl 39 loss to the Patriots is the fondest reminiscence of his profession.
That will result in the following step. What occurred with Brown in Pittsburgh can not occur once more in Oakland.
Owens loved a honeymoon in Philadelphia, however that Tremendous Bowl run just isn’t the indelible picture of his time there. It’s as a substitute Owens doing sit-ups within the driveway after being deactivated by the Eagles, and the press convention with agent Drew Rosenhaus, repeating that two-word response in each path: “Subsequent query.”
Rosenhaus, in fact, is now Brown’s agent.
Owens’ second departure from a group was worse than his first, and the pattern continued. Issues went effectively in Dallas … till they did not. Then Buffalo. Then Cincinnati.
Owens compiled 7,362 yards and 72 touchdowns over the past seven seasons of his profession. He completed that profession third all time in receiving yards (15,934) and receiving touchdowns (153). However his path of sick will went all the best way to his Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame candidacy, and voters made him wait to get in.
Owens supporters tried to assert he was a superb teammate. Detractors weren’t having it. The drama by no means stopped.
That’s the reason Brown ought to take a special path as soon as his soccer story resumes. He’s proficient sufficient to problem Owens’ profession numbers and maybe make a run at Jerry Rice on the high of these all-time lists. And he can do it outdoors Pittsburgh.
However Brown should remember Tremendous Bowl contenders begin with the entrance workplace, coach and QB. Roethlisberger is cherished in Pittsburgh partly for that cause. One can throw any variety of nuances at that, however Large Ben confirmed up in Week 17 final yr. Brown didn’t present up for his final sport in Pittsburgh, and these are the implications.
If Brown pulls one other stunt like that, then we shall be having the identical debates we did round Owens lengthy after his taking part in days have been over: Egocentric expertise or consummate teammate? Winner or whiner? Does the group work for him, or does he work for the group?
We have now accomplished this with Owens for manner too lengthy, and we do not wish to do it anymore with Brown. So possibly it is time for Brown to observe his personal recommendation.
Be clear or be misunderstood
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) February 18, 2019
We want a shock ending this time.