Roberto Clemente. Mario Lemieux. Jerome Bettis.
Brown, who also won the award in 2015, joins an illustrious list of former Steelers who have won the award including
“Antonio is a special player, a special person,” said Steelers’ President Art Rooney II. “The way he works is something that provides a tremendous example to the whole team. We are excited that he got this award.”
Brown finished the regular season as the AFC’s leading receiver with a career-high 1,834 yards and tied for first in the NFL with a career-high 136 receptions. He became the first player in Steelers’ history with back-to-back seasons with at least 1,700 yards from scrimmage and led the NFL with 2,074 combined yards (including rushing, receiving and returns).
“It’s a true honor,” said Brown. “It’s a huge event in the city, it’s about sportsmanship. It says a lot about our goals as a team. To be honored back-to-back is special.
“It’s amazing to play for a fun city with good people who are supportive. Any time I get an award like this is special.”
Brown, who was also voted AP All-Pro this year and selected to the Pro Bowl, knows awards like that don’t occur without the help of his teammates.
“Football is the ultimate team game,” said Brown. “I can’t do it by myself. It takes all of my teammates to do their job to help me be successful.”
Also honored at the dinner were Rob and Cindy Citrone, part of the Steelers ownership group, who received the Freddie Fu Leadership Award. The award is presented for leadership and giving back to their hometown.
“Cindy and Rob certainly have provided tremendous leadership through the community,” said Rooney. “They have supported a lot of great causes down through the years. They are always willing to be a part of something that is important in our community. It’s great to see them get this recognition.”
Other award honorees included soccer star Meghan Klingenberg who won the Sportswoman of the Year Award, former Pittsburgh Pirates great Dick Groat who won the Lifetime Achievement Award, and recently retired Pittsburgh Penguins star Pascal Dupuis who was the inaugural Courage Award winner, presented to a Pittsburgh area athlete who best exemplifies the meaning of perseverance by overcoming adversity while serving as an inspiration to their teammates or organization.