Antonio Brown says it 'ain't freedom' when media gives him too much attention

Some think the Pittsburgh Steelers' drama will only make the team better in the long run, but if there's little doubt about one thing, it's this: The Pittsburgh Steelers do have drama.

This is a team whose longtime quarterback openly toyed with retirement and then went on the radio to question why his bosses would consider drafting a quarterback. It's a team whose Pro Bowl running back probably won't show up until September for the second straight year. It's a team that, in 2017, started a wide receiver who repeatedly blasted his own teammates on social media.

And now, with minicamp underway, the team's best player -- perennial MVP candidate Antonio Brown -- has made his own headlines.

Brown, of course, has never been one to shy away from headlines, what with his penchant for drawing fines or showing off Rolls-Royces at training camp. But it's his newfound distaste for making headlines that apparently has him, well, making headlines again.

Addressing reporters on Tuesday, the four-time All-Pro spent the majority of a more-than-seven-minute interview suggesting he doesn't truly have freedom in his job or in his life because "you guys put pressure on me every day."

Brown never raised his voice during the interview, and some of his sentiments appeared to come from a heartfelt place -- he made note of how his time away from OTAs allowed him to embrace his family. But in between tangents about how the media will probably forget about his elite production once he's done playing football, he spent most of the time deriding the same media for giving him too much attention.

"Am I really free?" he asked. "I'm just stating the reality. You guys make up pressure and put pressure on guys like myself, and it's not fair."

Brown at one point acknowledged that constant attention is a byproduct of being a professional athlete, but he sandwiched that in between minutes of discussion about how the media puts him in the spotlight too much. Some of the points may have been legitimate, like certain stories applying his quotes about attending Steelers OTAs to teammate Le'Veon Bell, but all of the points came from a wide receiver who has made a career out of embracing the spotlight -- from sharing his private workouts on social media to literally streaming a locker-room meeting on Facebook.

As Sean Gentille wrote for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there are discussions to be had about what Brown is talking about -- over-scrutinized and then oft-forgotten athletes, quotes being taken out of context and so forth. But when it comes to going after reporters for reporting on you, there might be a simpler solution.

If Brown cares as much as he seems to, he should ignore it -- because whether he realizes it or not, he has that choice. We know more about Antonio Brown than we could ever need. Nothing is stopping him from giving us a little less.

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