To know Antonio Brown is to know one thing. The guy works his tail off. Not just on game day, not just in practice, not just during training camp. The Steelers wide receiver works his tail off every single day of the year.
That's why looking back at an assessment of Brown by NFL Draft 'experts' in a pre-draft publication prior to the 2010 NFL Draft has to make you chuckle a little.
"Has a prima donna attitude and does not like to work."*
Yes, that's the same Antonio Brown who is the last one off the field every day. Who despite being a Pro Bowl receiver is maniacal about working on the Jugs machine on a daily basis during training camp and the regular season. The same Antonio Brown, who in February, March, April and now May has been preparing as if the season started tomorrow.
If you are getting a laugh out of the assessment, you aren't the only one.
Zach Azzanni, the assistant head coach/receivers coach while Brown was at Central Michigan, just had to shake his head when he read it too.
"His work ethic is pretty much second to none," said Azzanni, now the receivers coach/passing game coordinator at the University of Tennessee. "He had that certain kind of fire in his eye and fire in his belly that you can't really put your finger on, but you know something is in there.
"Mike Tomlin told me he changed the Pittsburgh Steelers with how hard he works, him and William Gay. It's them and everyone else as far as work ethic. He's the first one on the field, and he's the last one to leave. He trains on a daily basis while other guys are taking vacations.
"I think he's proven a lot people wrong. He's a self-made man and he's probably read this and he probably has this cut out sitting on a mirror. He's worked himself into one of the best players in all of the National Football League."
Brown read the full evaluation of himself recently for the first time, and said things like that have always been a motivating factor for him, but there is also so much more that drives the former sixth-round pick.
"There are always going to be naysayers," said Brown. "You have to stay focused. It's not what people say, it's about what we do in life. It's all about your attitude, how you go about things. When you hear something negative, it's about how you control your attitude. You have to get better."