USA Today

Antonio Brown recently made headlines after he publicly expressed his desire to retire as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of his former teammates in Pittsburgh feels that is how Brown's NFL career should end. 

Vince Williams, a former linebacker and Brown's teammate in Pittsburgh from 2013-18, is on board with Brown retiring as a Steeler. Williams also gave a pretty significant compliment given the receivers that have come through the organization. 

"AB is the best Steelers WR ever, so yeah he should retire a Steeler," Williams wrote on Twitter. 

Williams pointed to Brown's numbers from 2013-18 to support his claim, so we did just that. During that six-year span, Brown averaged 114 receptions for 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns per season. He led the NFL in receptions in 2014 and in 2015, receiving yards in 2014 and in 2017, and touchdown receptions in 2018 despite missing the final game of the regular season. 

As far as career numbers are concerned, Brown is second to Hines Ward in franchise history in every significant category, including receptions (837), yards (11,207) and touchdowns (74). But Brown made seven Pro Bowls and was a four-time All-Pro in Pittsburgh, compared to Ward's four Pro Bowl selections. 

Like Brown, Ward is in every conversation of the best receivers in Steelers history. So is Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, who were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Given the run-heavy era that they played in, Swann and Stallworth's numbers pale in comparison to the stats Ward and Brown compiled. 

Swann, who led the NFL in touchdown receptions in 1975, never had more than 61 catches in a season. Ironically, Stallworth's best season took place with Mark Malone, not Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, throwing him the ball. At age 32, Stallworth set then-franchise records with 80 receptions for 1,395 yards in 1984 while helping Pittsburgh make a surprise run to the AFC title game. Stallworth was the franchise's single season and career leader in most categories before Ward surpassed him in the 2000s. 

The postseason is where things get interesting. Swann and Ward are owners of Super Bowl MVP trophies. Stallworth should have been named MVP of Super Bowl XIV after making two game-winning plays in the fourth quarter. Brown's best playoff performance occurred in a loss; despite dealing with an injury, Brown caught 7 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns in Pittsburgh's 2017 divisional round playoff loss to the Jaguars, who that season boasted the league's top pass defense. 

Here's a look at each receivers' postseason numbers. 


Antonio Brown





John Stallworth





Lynn Swann





Hines Ward18881,18110

By any measurement, Brown belongs in any conversation involving the best receivers in Steelers history. But given the accomplishments of Ward, Stallowrth and Swann, there is no clear-cut answer as far as who is the greatest receiver in franchise annals.