Antonio Brown found himself in social-media hot water this week after live-streaming Pittsburgh’s locker-room celebration following its 18-16 win over Kansas City on Sunday. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin publicly reprimanded Brown, who later apologized.
Former receiver David Nelson played for four NFL teams, including the Steelers, and he never encountered anything like that during this career. But he’s not necessarily shocked that it happened.
“I would like to say it wouldn’t (happen), but you never know,” Nelson said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence, laughing. “That’s the way it is nowadays. I was in training camp last year with the Steelers before I got hurt and had to spend the year on IR and got to spend a lot of time with AB. I really didn’t know what to expect before I walked into that locker room, but I tell everybody that I meet when they ask me the question that he is the hardest-working (guy). He take this profession and his craft seriously. There’s a reason why his teammates are so behind him, and the reason why his teammates defend him is because when he steps out on that field, he works harder than everybody else. He is the real deal.”
Brown had 106 catches for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, ranking among the top five in the league in all three categories. He is a major reason why the Steelers have won nine straight games and are one win away from their fourth Super Bowl appearance of Ben Roethlisberger’s career.
“In the NFL, winning in the playoffs and getting to the Super Bowl is all about peaking and being healthy and playing your best at the right time,” Nelson said, “and I believe the Pittsburgh Steelers are doing just that right now, just like they did a few years ago when they won it. But I think you’ve seen this team rally behind Coach Tomlin in light of the comments that Terry Bradshaw made. You’ve seen the team play in a different way – kind of like it’s us against the world. He has the unbelievable ability to be able to rally guys.”
Nelson has experienced it up close and personal.
“Like I said, I was in the locker room last year,” he said. “I was able to see it firsthand, just how guys just believe in him, listen to him, how he has control of that locker room but also is able to talk to the guys as if they were men and not necessarily players. I think the Pittsburgh Steelers, right now, are playing better than any team in the NFL, and they’re my team to beat in the entire playoffs.”
But first they must get past New England in the AFC Championship on Sunday. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is slated for 6:40 p.m. ET.