Anyone who follows Antonio Brown on social media knows the All-Pro wide receiver is prone to mood swings, a temperamental characteristic that often manifests itself in strange tweets and Instagram posts that he’ll sometimes walk back.
Nevertheless, it’s still alarming to hear firsthand accounts of Brown’s behavior, which evidently fluctuated frequently during his nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and ultimately led to incredibly brief stints with the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots in 2019.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler spoke with several of Brown’s former teammates for a piece published Monday, and it’s apparent those around the perennial Pro Bowl selection more or less came to expect the unexpected.
Here’s what Fowler wrote:
For most of Brown’s career, teammates and friends knew that at any point he could “flip a switch,” says one ex-teammate — in fact, some close to Brown believe that’s what made him the player that he is.
Brown is one of the most productive wide receivers in NFL history, totaling six seasons with at least 100 catches and seven seasons with at least 1,100 receiving yards — a résumé that’s even more impressive when you consider he was an undersized walk-on at Central Michigan who eventually cracked the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick.
“If he wasn’t as crazy and sporadic as he really is, I’m not sure he’d be the same player,” one source told Fowler. “That kind of made him who he was, wanting to prove everybody wrong. That brought the best and worst out of him.”
Sometimes, your biggest strengths also can be your biggest weaknesses. And it certainly appears that’s the case with Brown, whose massive chip on his shoulder weighs him down far too often, particularly off the field, despite playing a pivotal role in his gridiron success.