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Insider Only Monday Buzz Column: Antonio Brown is as good as any player ever to put on a Steelers uniform

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I remember Lynn Chadnois.

He was a Steelers running back/wide receiver who retired in 1956. That ought to give you an idea of how old I am. I was eight years old when he retired, but I remember him as the best wide receiver/running back on a bad Steelers team.

I saw him play at Forbes Field with 25 or 30,000 other people.

He was pretty good.

I remember Buddy Dial, who averaged 20 yards a catch for the Steelers in the early ‘60s.

Fast forward 50 years to Sunday night.

I watched Antonio Brown catch eight passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts on a 50 –inch flat screen TV.

He also returned a punt for a touchdown.

I decided last night that Brown is not only as good as any wide receiver who’s ever played for the Steelers he’s as good as any player who has ever played any position for the Steelers.

I came to the conclusion last year that Brown is as good as both Lynn Swann and John Stallworth and I also wrote that I considered him not only the best wide receiver in the NFL but the best player in the league.

He’s even better this year.

When Jerry Rice was setting all of his records I never believed he was any better than either Swann or Stallworth. Still don’t.

Antonio Brown is as good as any receiver I have ever seen.

He’s better than Rice after the catch and there isn’t a catch that Rice made that Brown couldn’t make.

I saw and covered a lot of Steelers who are in the Hall of Fame. I still think Terry Bradshaw was the best player on the ‘70s dynasty team and is one of the most underrated players in NFL history.

Brown is as good as any player who ever played for the Steelers, in my opinion, and that includes Bradshaw.

Now, let’s keep in mind that Brown has a long way to go to match the careers of the all time Steelers greats, but I’m not talking about records as much as I’m talking about talent.

Brown obviously needs to grow up and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him shorten his career with another stupid touchdown celebration like last night’s, when he impaled himelf on the goal post after a ridiculously easy punt return.

He’s probably not going to run for governor of Pennsylvania when he grows up.

Forget the stats. He blows both Swann and Stallworth away on the numbers, but all the passing stats are inflated.

And they’re playing a different game now.

Quarterbacks are protected by linemen who are allowed to use their hands and wide receivers can’t be touched after they’ve gone five yards down field.

Both Swann and Stallworth would put up astronomical numbers running routes against 2015 defenses.

Brown would find it much tougher to get open on those eight to 10 yard slants playing under 1970 rules.

But he would have been just as good as Swann and Stallworth.

Brown wouldn’t have been able to run through defenses made up of guys who actually knew how to tackle as easily as he runs through modern defenses, but he would have been as good as the best in any era.

And, take it from somebody who has been watching them since long before they were cool, Brown is as good as any player ever to put on a Steelers uniform.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

–Why is anybody other than Antonio Brown returning punts and who thought Jacoby Jones could still play? He should have been cut at halftime Sunday night.

Brown is also the best kick and punt returner in the NFL. He has less chance of getting hurt on a return than he does running a slant over the middle. It’s ridiculous to not take advantage of a weapon that can make the difference between a win and a loss on one play.


–If the season ended today the Penguins would not be in the playoffs. Think about that for a minute and remember that they barely made the playoffs last season. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

John Steigerwald

TIOPS Columnist

John Steigerwald, a life long Pittsburgher, has been covering PITTSBURGH sports since 1977 as a TV anchor/reporter, columnist radio reporter/commentator and talk show host. He is also the author of one of the best selling local books in Pittburgh history, "Just Watch The Game."

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