When Ben Roethlisberger was contemplating retirement during the offseason, Antonio Brown made sure he got in his ear here and there to let him know what he thought.
And what did he think?
"I didn't want him to leave yet," said Brown after the Steelers second day of OTAs.
Brown and Roethlisberger have become a lethal tandem, connecting on 50 regular season touchdowns over Brown's seven seasons.
"That's my guy," said Brown. "I wouldn't want to play with anyone else. The thought of him leaving is discouraging. But we can't play forever. It's exciting to see him out here committed."
Brown admitted he wasn't overly surprised to hear Roethlisberger talk about retirement, as the team's franchise quarterback has accomplished so much. But he is thrilled that the talk is in the past for now, and it's all about moving forward with one goal in mind, winning the Super Bowl.
"Ben is a warrior," said Brown. "He has been through it all, seen it all, and done it all. I know if he is out here he is going to give us everything he's got. You can see that from the first couple of days. His intensity, his motivation. Second day he is already giving signals. His detail from the meeting room. He is a warrior and I would never question his commitment."
Celebrate good times: The NFL will be relaxing rules on celebrations to allow players to have fun following touchdowns and big plays.
Celebrations that will now be permitted include: Using the football as a prop after a touchdown; celebrating on the ground; and group demonstrations. The league will still penalize players for demonstrations that prolong or delay the game, offensive celebrations, and ones directed at an opponent.
Brown's eyes lit up when talking about the group celebrations, and plans on bringing some of his offensive linemen into the mix.
"I am excited about it," said Brown. "I am looking forward to celebrating with my teammates and doing it the right way. I think it's amazing. I am sure the guys are looking forward to it, the offensive linemen, some of the guys that don't get to celebrate with the guys who get in the end zone. I think it will be fun."
The Steelers participate in day 2 of the 2017 Organized Team Activities at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
Workout warrior:** Brown is a guy who is almost always last off the field, always getting extra work in. But he does work on his own too, well into the nighttime hours away from the facility, on vacation, wherever he might be in an effort to get better. And unlike in the past when he was more secretive about it, now he shares it on social media.
"To me it's all about inspiring the kids," said Brown. "And those watching, letting them know how I get ready over the course of the year for a season, and give them some positive things."
Brown said he isn't worried about any opponents picking up on his workouts, because it's not just about what you do, it's about committing yourself to what you do.
"I can show you the journey, but you have to lead by your own footsteps," said Brown.
Play ball: Brown's 2nd Annual Celebrity Softball Game will be held on Saturday, June 17, at Highmark Stadium. The event will kick off with a homerun derby at 2 p.m., followed by the game at 3 p.m.
Proceeds from the game will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania and the National Youth Foundation. And for Brown, who grew up going to the Boys & Girls Club in Florida, it's the perfect way to give back.
"I understand the leadership of the Boys & Girls Club," said Brown. "Being a kid who played football at a Boys & Girls Club, I know what it means to come there after school and be able to do your homework, have the positive resources there to keep you inspired and on course with your goals. Being able to raise money to benefit them is a positive thing, knowing a lot of kids look forward to their clubs."
For tickets and more information click on Antonio Brown Celebrity Softball Game. Use the code FRIENDS to get 20% off your ticket purchase.