Brown: 'I wanted to be a Steeler'

Back in 2010, Antonio Brown's dream was to be selected in the first, maybe second round of the NFL Draft. A dream similar to the one those selected in the NFL Draft this year had.

That dream was exactly what he told Zach Azzanni, the assistant head coach/receivers coach while Brown was at Central Michigan, on the day he decided to leave school after his junior year to enter the draft.

The best photos of WR Antonio Brown from the 2015 season.

His hopes were high, not because he was cocky, but because he was confident in his ability. After all, this was a player who came to Central Michigan as a quarterback, having never played wide receiver, and grew into a game-changer at the receiver position.

"I felt like I had grown so much," said Brown of his time at Central Michigan. "I knew it was the right thing for me to do at the time, to leave school early. It was the right time to make the decision.

"I always believed I was going to be in the NFL and I was going to make it. The fight was already won, you are already prepared."

His coach warned him, though. Don't be disappointed if you don't get selected where you think you should.

"I said understand now you're coming from a smaller program, you're a little bit undersized, you've only been playing the position three years now, don't expect to be going in the first or second round," said Azzanni, now the receivers coach/passing game coordinator at the University of Tennessee. "That was about the last thing he wanted to hear. He said coach, I'm going in the first or second round and I said man I love you, but you're not. I said you'll make it wherever you go, you're going to make it, I have no doubt. But don't be disappointed if someone overlooks you or you don't go high or maybe someone doesn't draft you at all. I said I don't think that's going to make a difference, you'll be fine, you'll make a team. But don't get upset if you get passed over a bit and if you do use it as motivation. Obviously he did."

Brown wasn't drafted in the first round. Nor the second. It wasn't until the sixth round that Brown got the phone call from the Steelers, the 195th player selected, with 21 receivers and even two punters going ahead of him. He wasn't even the first receiver the Steelers selected that year, that being Emmanuel Sanders who was taken in the third round.

For him, though, it didn't matter. He was getting his shot, his chance to make an NFL team, and he was going to make the most of it.

"I visited the Steelers and I got a positive vibe that they were interested in me," said Brown of his pre-draft visit with the team. "I visited a lot of different teams, but coming to Pittsburgh, everything I knew it was a nice feeling. I wanted to be a Steeler."

Brown had the same feeling many of this year's Steelers draft picks had when they were recently selected. Whether it was a first round pick, or a seventh round pick, they all had confidence that they would be drafted and like Brown can control what happens to them now.

"You have the power to create it in your mind," said Brown. "You can help control how you want to be looked upon, and what you want to be. You can make sure how you want it to be. I have been able to do that thanks to hard work."

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