Antonio Brown has had an extraordinary month. After a thrilling Steelers’ divisional win over the Chiefs, Brown proceeded to live broadcast Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech that included an unsavory moniker for the New England Patriots. Brown was under fire all week and after Pittsburgh lost rather handedly in the AFC Championship, questions arise about whether the supremely talented wideout is the long-term solution in Steeler Nation. Brown has a year left on his contract.
Since the Facebook Live incident, Brown has been remorseful and focused on moving forward. We chatted with Brown in Houston this week where that humility was prevalent.
Brown spoke to us on behalf on Visa, where he is a spokesman for an innovative payment technology, the Visa payment ring. While in Houston, Brown surprised a few fans at an NFL Shop by taking care of their purchases without the use of a wallet.
Brown demonstrated the Visa payment ring in the following video, which also includes our full conversation. (Yes, we chatted via Facebook Live.) He discusses his contract status, the color that inspires him, how he really feels about the Patriots and much more.
Melissa Jacobs:Can you talk about the aftermath of the Facebook Live incident?
Antonio Brown: I was really sorry about that moment. I made a mistake running the film after a big win. I should have been focused. I never meant to embarrass the organization, to put my teammates feeling a certain way or misrepresent myself. I’m a good guy with a good heart and I have good intentions. I’m going to move forward from it. I’m excited about the off-season.
MJ:Speaking of the off-season, I just caught you chatting with your agent, Drew Rosenhaus. There is lots of talk in Pittsburgh about your contract for which you have one year remaining. Give us a :30 second pitch to the Steelers to sign you to an extension right now.
AB: You need my agent for that. But I think things will work out for the greater good for not only me, but the city of Pittsburgh. I’m extremely grateful to get out in the community of Pittsburgh and not only play the game but affect other people and kids in that regard and I’m excited about the whole process of that.
MJ:What is it like being here this week working radio row, knowing how close you were to playing on Sunday?
AB: It’s just motivation for next year. We were so close but so far. I’m just excited about the opportunity to get better. Hopefully we have a great team next year that entails us to get in this position next year.
MJ:We heard how your coach feels about the Patriots. You’ve had an interesting rivalry over the years. How do you feel about the Patriots?
AB: I just feel like those guys have the key to winning. Belichick is an amazing coach who does amazing things and always has his team in position. You can tell they play hard-nosed football in regards to how they prepare and work at it. You see those guys late in the year still wearing their pads and putting them in a position to win.
MJ:You often hear you and Julio Jones mentioned as the top two wide receivers in football. How do you think you guys stack up?
AB: I think we’re the best in the world at what we do. We do a lot of great things but it’s a competitive league. A lot of great guys around us do the work and help us elevate our game and that’s what makes the NFL so special. We have a lot of competitive players who are the best in the world at what they do and they all compete against each other.
MJ:Now you’ve done Dancing with the Stars and had notoriously busy off-seasons in the past. What’s on tap this year?
AB: Spending time with my family, first and foremost. I started developing things in the community. I had a chance to go to Children’s Hospital here in Houston ad see some of the kids. I want to give back to the Boys and Girl’s Club. We’re setting up programs where kids can get tutors and we will start helping kids in the inner-city to have a better future.
MJ:Your own kids have really cool names. Antonio Jr. Ali, Autonomy and Antanyiah. Antonio is obvious but what was the motivation behind the other three?
AB: It was just being creative and seeing something that was meaningful and really tells my kids’ names.
MJ:My colleague, Jonathan Jones, says you have a spiritual connection with the color blue. What is that connection?
AB: Blue is the color of peace. Water is blue. I like the color blue because it just puts me at peace. The patriotic symbol is blue. I just like blue.
MJ:Blue is a great color. This week, Roger Goodell had his State of the NFL press conference. What is the state of the NFL in your mind?
AB: We have to continue to get better. We have to be better leaders for kids who aspire to play in the NFL. We have to do a good job protecting guys with the rules and ramifications of the NFL. And we have to start marketing our players, getting people’s faces out there and continue to grow the game and make it the best sport in the world.
MJ:Do you not think the league does a good enough job marketing you guys?
AB: I mean, we all wear helmets. They do a really good job marketing us but it can always grow and get better.
MJ:What would be the one NFL rule you’d change if you could?
AB: Allow guys to celebrate in the end zone.
MJ:How’d I know you would say that?