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Brown: 'They have a lot to prove'

Posted Jul 30, 2014

Receiver Antonio Brown is helping the younger receivers grow.

LATROBE, Pa. - As Steelers’ fans gathered on the hillside and in the bleachers at Chuck Noll Field on the campus of Saint Vincent College, receiver Antonio Brown took periodic looks up into the crowd and smiled as he saw people filter in while he and his teammates stretched during warm-ups.

As those warm-ups continued, Brown started to play with the crowd, holding his hand to his ear to get them to start cheering. When they weren’t loud enough, he encouraged them a little more, getting the energy level up with each wave of his hand.

It’s just the way Brown is. He is someone whose motor never stops, from the time he hits the field until he leaves it, many days that not happening until after getting in extra reps and then signing footballs, Terrible Towels, pictures and more for many of those same fans.

The fans notice, and so do others, including fellow wide receivers new to the team.

“Our receiving corps is really good,” said Darrius Heyward-Bey, a free agent signing this offseason. “We are young, work hard and just follow AB (Antonio Brown).”

Brown has become a leader among the receivers, especially with the departure of veteran Jerricho Cotchery via free agency this offseason. The two-time team MVP has the most experience among the receivers, and he is using that to help some of his younger teammates, including young guys like second-year receiver Markus Wheaton and rookie Martavis Bryant.

“We have been studying film together, understanding the concepts, the plays, what Ben (Roethlisberger) is thinking and just pushing guys,” said Brown. “Iron sharpening iron to better each other.

“If they make a mistake in practice we will go over it. For the most part we are just challenging each other to be better.”

Brown loves the potential that some of the young members of the receiving corps have, and just thinks they need to continue to show what they can do every day on the field.

“They have a lot to prove,” said Brown. “They can be as good as they want to be. It starts today, the building process to get on the same page as Ben (Roethlisberger) and start to build a rapport for what they want to do to help the team win.”

* * *

Running back Le’Veon Bell missed the first day of hitting with a hamstring injury, but still said that he has made major progress since his rookie training camp one year ago.

“It’s like night and day,” said Bell. “I feel like I am a lot more comfortable with the people, the offense, and my teammates. I am more comfortable.  

“Last year as a rookie you are anxious to see what the game is like and trying to make an impression on people. I am going into my second year and guys know what to expect of me. Being more comfortable makes the game go easier. You aren’t thinking as much. You go out there and are ready.”

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