There is no question Antonio Brown is a key piece to the Steelers' offensive puzzle, and that piece will be in place for a long time as Brown has been signed to a new five-year contract.
Brown made it clear this offseason he wanted to stay put when he said he is a 'Steeler for life,' and the new deal shows it's something both sides wanted.
"Antonio is a good guy, a good person," said Steelers' President Art Rooney II after the season. "I enjoy our personal relationship. His teammates like to have him on the team. He is a hard worker.
"AB is a big contributor to our success, has been for several years now, and I think he's capable of continuing to be that kind of player. I think he's someone who wants to be a great player and works hard to be that. Hopefully, he'll continue to evolve as a player and as a person."
Brown's trademark smile was brighter than ever as he talked about what it meant to stay with the Steelers, and how his hard work paid off.
"It means everything," said Brown. "It's the team that gave me an opportunity from Day 1. You put the helmet on you have the chance to do something special.
"I am extremely thankful. You have to have a vision. You have to think positive things for yourself. You have to continue to dream. This is one of the things I dreamed about five, six years ago. I want to continue to dream and be motivated and continue to grow.
"I can tell you the work that goes in pays off. Working smart, working hard, always being ready when the opportunity presents itself."
He was drafted by the Steelers in the sixth round in 2010 and has grown and developed into one of the best wide receivers in the game. In his first seven seasons in the league he has caught 632 passes for 8,377 yards, a 13.3 yard average, and has hauled in 50 touchdowns.
Brown, who was selected to the Associated Press 2016 NFL All-Pro Team, finished first in the AFC and second in the NFL in total receptions in 2016 with 106, finishing just behind Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald who had 107 receptions. Brown was fifth in the league in total yardage with 1,284 yards. He became the first player in NFL history to lead his conference in receptions in four straight seasons.
Brown, who was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time, including four consecutive years, became the first player in team history with 1,000 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns in three straight seasons (2014-16), and the first player in team history to record 90 receptions in four straight seasons.
The list of accomplishments for the hard-working Brown goes on and on. He has at least one reception in 99 straight regular-season games, set an NFL record for the most receptions by a player in the first 100 regular season games of their career with 622 and has the most receptions in NFL history in any four-year span with 481 (2013-16).
When it comes to Steelers' records, Brown is making a name for himself and then some in the books. He has the most double-digit reception games in team history (13), is tied for the most 100-yard receiving games in team history (29), is just the second player to record at least 600 receptions (joining Hines Ward), and along with the Ward the second player in team history to record 1,000 receiving yards in four straight seasons. Brown is third on the Steelers in all-time receiving yards, behind Ward and Hall of Famer John Stallworth.
"He has big play written all over him and it can happen at any time," said Stallworth of Bell. "One of the philosophies we had that Chuck Noll taught us was a big play can happen at any time and don't be surprised when it happens. With Antonio you have a big play waiting to happen any time he touches the ball, whether it's a short pass or a long pass, catching a short one and turning it into a big one or on punt returns. He is a big play ready to happen. He is somebody opposing defenses have to take into account and believe me he probably scares the dickens out of them."