Antonio Brown has no interest in reconciling with Ben Roethlisberger any time soon. The former Steeler and current Raider made that clear when he told Roethlisberger to " " while posting a video of his former teammate answering a question about Brown during a recent interview. While Brown did delete the post hours later, the damage was already done.
Brown, whether he knows it or not, has significantly hurt his future Hall of Fame status with his actions over the past 12 months. From his bizarre behavior during his final season in Pittsburgh to his forced trade from the Steelers to his current helmet saga, Brown's off-field antics have cast a shadow of doubt on if -- not when -- he will get inducted into Canton after his NFL career is over.
There are no specific qualifications when it comes to being considered for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Many players get in largely because of their stats. Others -- Joe Namath comes to mind -- get in because of their significant impact on the game. Some get in -- think Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann -- because of their stellar play in championship games. Being a standup person who had a good relationship with fans, coaches, teammates and the media doesn't hurt your chances, either.
Brown falls into that first category of players whose statistics will largely represent his future case for induction. Brown, who doesn't have a Super Bowl ring, has just one enduring postseason moment: his helmet catch that helped Pittsburgh advance to the 2010 AFC title game. And his recent actions regarding the Steelers and various members of the media (he went after The Athletic's Ed Bouchette, the Steelers' Hall of Fame media representative, on Twitter last summer) won't help his cause, either.
While his career stats are impressive (especially his current six-year run), Brown would be on the bubble for Hall of Fame induction if his career ended today. Here's where his current career stats rank on the all-time list, as well as his per-season average entering the 2019 season.
|Antonio Brown: Career Numbers|
|Antonio Brown: Season Averages|
Brown, 31, has three years remaining on his current contract. Assuming he plays out his existing contract, and assuming he hits his career average each season, here's what his career stats and place on the all-time list would look like.
Brown's career statistics should be good enough for Canton assuming his success in Oakland is somewhat similar to what he's done in Pittsburgh. While his days of racking up 130-plus catches and 1,800-plus receiving yards are over, expecting Brown to put up a stat line somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 catches for 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns over the next few years doesn't seem like a stretch.
Age (most receivers start to fade once they reach their mid 30s), health (Brown has been hampered by injuries each of the past two off-seasons) and whether or not he can develop a strong rapport with Derek Carr and whoever else may be his quarterback for the remainder of his career will play a significant factor in how high Brown climbs on the all-time lists.
While Brown's stats will likely get him an argument for Hall of Fame induction, there are already a slew of receivers with impressive stats that are still waiting for a call to Canton. Isaac Bruce, who caught the game-winning score in the St. Louis Rams' victory over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, is still waiting for induction despite currently sitting fifth all-time in receiving yards 12th in touchdown receptions and 13th in catches.
Another former wideout still waiting for his call is Brown's former teammate Hines Ward, who is 14th all-time in catches, tied for 15th in touchdown receptions and is 25th in receiving yards. Ward, who played in a run-oriented offense for most of his 14-year career, also won two Super Bowls while being named the MVP of Super Bowl XL. If Holt and Ward have to wait despite everything they achieved in their career, one would expect Brown to wait at least a few years after he's eligible to get the call Canton.
There are several deserving receivers who will never get that call. Drew Pearson, the Cowboys' greatest receiver during the franchise's first three decades of existence, is still waiting for that call despite helping the Cowboys reach three Super Bowls during the 1970s. He is also infamous for catching the first "Hail Mary" pass in NFL history that helped the Cowboys advance to Super Bowl X.
The NFL season is about to start but all eyes are on Antonio Brown, who apparently threatened to punch Raiders GM Mike Mayock during practice and now could be suspended, fined and maybe even cut. You better believe the Pick Six Podcast crew is firing up an emergency pod. Will Brinson, Bryant McFadden and Ryan Wilson break down all the details of the latest AB insanity.
Cliff Branch, another receiver who played in the NFL's run-heavy era, was the Raiders' greatest deep threat during the 1970s and into the '80s. Branch, who won three Super Bowls and is fourth all-time in career postseason receiving yards, died earlier this year before ever hearing his name called for induction into Canton. Pearson and Branch are unfortunate reminders that not every deserving former player will see their careers immortalized in canton.
Terrell Owens is the player most similar to Brown when comparing Brown with former receivers who are currently in Canton. Owens, despite ranking third all-time in both career yards and touchdowns and also being eighth all-time in receptions, had to wait until his third year of eligibility to receive the call to Canton. While Owens' career numbers were definitely deserving of the honor, his reputation as a bad teammate that was dealt to another team on four separate occasions during his career, ultimately played a factor in him not receiving the honor of being a first-ballot inductee.
Brown's recent actions have already cost him that honor. His career stats -- with no other tangibles or intangibles to go with them -- aren't good enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, not when you consider the off-field drama that's been associated with his name. And given the recent history of his new team, Brown likely won't be adding "Super Bowl champion" to his resume when he hangs up his cleats for good.
The only way Brown can help solidify his place in Canton is by continuing to put up numbers while also doing a better job of avoiding off-field controversy. With a reported suspension looming, it appears that Brown isn't doing a great job of that. Big Ben, whether Brown likes it or not, has already solidified his place in Canton, and will most likely get first-ballot treatment. Whether or not Brown eventually joins him there is ultimately up to him.