Antonio Brown Has Already Proven Elite Status Without Ben Roethlisberger

 In NFL

It’s funny how fans take star players for granted. Tennessee Titans fans have waited decades for an elite wide receiver. Even another Derrick Mason or Nate Washington would do. Finding the next Antonio Brown seems like nothing more than a pipe dream.

Look at all the free agents and draft picks who haven’t panned out. Off the top of my head: Carl Pickens. Yancey Thigpen. Eric Moulds. Randy Moss. Kendall Wright. Kenny Britt. Damian Williams. Lavelle Hawkins. Tyrone Calico. Courtney Roby. Desperation reached a point where fans and radio hosts were speaking about Tajae Sharpe becoming a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver—as a rookie. Like, whoa.

Then you have the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’ve enjoyed Mike Wallace, Plaxico Burress, and Hines Ward, to name a few. Brown was a 2010 sixth-rounder. Many people believe he has spent the last half-decade as the NFL’s best wide receiver.

What type of gratitude can one expect from having such a talent? Former Steelers public relations employee Ryan Scarpino isn’t impressed:

Brown tweeted back,

Don’t get your hopes up, Titans fans. Antonio Brown doesn’t actually want out. He’s just making a wisecrack following a frustrating Week 2 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs, 42-37. The last thing he wanted was to hear disrespect.

No idea where this would come from? What other teams? Green Bay Packers? New England Patriots? Atlanta Falcons? New Orleans Saints? Brown would enjoy gaudy stat lines with many quarterbacks. Today’s NFL is a pass-happy league. The rules are favored for shootouts. More passing means more scoring potential. Imagine Brown playing in the Superdome with Drew Brees and Sean Payton.

Look at what Antonio Brown did with former backup quarterback Landry Jones. From 2015-17, Jones started five games. Two of those starts were Week 17 finales where Brown rested. One game featured Ben Roethlisberger replacing Jones after an injury. Here were the other two starts:

  • Oct. 25, 2015 vs Chiefs: six catches for 124 yards, eight targets, long of 41 yards (209 overall passing yards).
  • Oct. 23, 2016 vs Patriots: seven catches for 106 yards, 11 targets, long of 51 yards.

Those are pretty solid numbers with a quarterback whom would have much less chemistry with him. It’s unfair to criticize Brown for assuming that he couldn’t produce with a bad quarterback. Every wide receiver would suffer with a weaker quarterback. Just look at DeAndre Hopkins a couple years ago.

We’ll chalk this up to either a bad take or major miscommunication. Nothing new with the hot take machine known as Twitter. This sounds like undervaluing a receiver for his late-round draft status or disliking Brown’s personality.

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Joshua Huffman was born and collegiately edumacated in Middle Tennessee. That said, Huffman spent 13-plus years with the type of Northern Wisconsinites and Yoopers who turn Nashville bars into alcohol wastelands whenever NFC North teams travel to play the Tennessee Titans. This makes him the NoBro of SoBros. He has published content for Yahoo! Sports (via Contributor Network) and Titan Sized, among other venues. At SoBros, he’ll provide Daily Fantasy Sports suggestions and broad sports coverage. Follow him on Twitter.

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