ESPN Names Antonio Brown as Steelers’ Player of the Decade

Antonio Brown

Getty Antonio Brown is in search of a new team after washing out with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots.

Antonio Brown may be persona non grata in Pittsburgh these days, but that didn’t stop ESPN NFL Nation reporter Brooke Pryor from naming him as the Pittsburgh SteelersPlayer of the Decade.

Pryor argues that Brown was “the best player in the division” during his nine seasons in Pittsburgh, noting that “he had stretches as not only the AFC North’s most dominant player and best wide receiver, but also as the best of the best in the entire league.” Moreover, he produced 11,207 receiving yards and 74 receiving touchdowns during his time with the Steelers.

It’s also difficult to ignore the fact that Brown was named Team MVP four times, in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Brown did get off to a slow start in his rookie year; in fact, he missed his first NFL game due to suspension because he overslept and missed a meeting. But he introduced himself to Steelers fans on the opening kickoff the next week, taking a reverse from running back Mewelde Moore and returning the ball 89 yards for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans.

Antonio Brown 89 yard REVERSE Kickoff Return TouchdownThe Steelers run a reverse on the opening kickoff and it pays big dividends as Antonio Brown struts 89-yards for a touchdown. Steelers vs. Titans2010-09-19T18:27:44Z

As for Brown’s most memorable punt return, most would agree it’s the one where he kicked Cleveland Browns punter Spencer Lanning in the face, possibly sacrificing a touchdown in the process.

Antonio Brown Kicks Browns Punter Spencer Lanning During ReturnSteelers WR Antonio Brown fails attempt to leap over Browns' Punter Spencer Lanning during return and ends up kicking him.2014-09-08T14:23:01Z

As for his most memorable touchdown catch, there are many possibilities from which to choose, but consider the Immaculate Extension, which came against the Baltimore Ravens.

Antonio Brown Stretches For Game Winning Touchdown Vs. Baltimore 2016Antonio Brown stretches across the goalie for an amazing touchdown!2016-12-26T00:44:11Z

As to whether we will ever see Antonio Brown score another touchdown in the NFL, Brown’s attorney claims that his client looks forward to resuming his career, but there are still legal hurdles standing in the way of a return to the league.

Ben Roethlisberger: Honorable Mention

Of course, if Brown does return the NFL, he won’t have Ben Roethlisberger throwing him the ball.

Roethlisberger was Pryor’s second choice for Steelers’ Player of the Decade. Hurting his candidacy is the fact that Big Ben didn’t add to his Super Bowl total in the past ten years. But he has posted gaudy passing stats, building his Hall of Fame resume.

For example, “in 2018, Roethlisberger had one of his most prolific seasons, leading the NFL with 452 completions, 675 attempts, 5,129 passing yards and 320.6 yards per game.”

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AFC North Players of the Decade

As for the three other teams in the AFC North, ESPN named offensive guard Marshal Yanda as the Baltimore Ravens’ Player of the Decade, with placekicker Justin Tucker also getting consideration. Wide receiver A.J. Green earned the honor for the Cincinnati Bengals, with defensive tackle Geno Atkins a strong honorable mention. The choice for the Cleveland Browns was obvious, that being left tackle Joe Thomas, who started 167 straight games and played in an NFL-record 10,363 consecutive plays before a triceps injury ended his career in 2017. Center Alex Mack was named honorable mention for the Browns, for whom he played between 2009 and 2016.

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