Chronicling The Phases Of Antonio Brown

From 'Turk' To 'Ronald Ocean' To 'AB' To 'Mr. Big Chest'

Matt Koll
February 20, 2019 - 12:13 pm
Antonio Brown

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Chronicling The Phases Of Antonio Brown

Cytology has the phases of the cell cycle.

Astrology has the phases of the moon.

Pittsburgh has had the phases of Antonio Brown.

And since it’s all about to come to a crashing halt with the imminent trade of the star receiver, I thought it might be a fitting time to review the stages or “phases” of Antonio Brown as a Pittsburgh Steeler.

The ride has been wild, the highlights have been many. The wins weren’t satisfactory but the drama was aplenty.

So let’s review it.

Much like mitosis of the cell takes place in four phases (last science reference I promise), there have been four main stages to Antonio Brown.

Phase 1- “Turk” or “Cash Money”

Antonio Brown spent one year at North Carolina Tech Prep as a QB and WR, tried to enroll at Florida International University, got into an altercation with security and ended up at Central Michigan. Despite piling up over 100 receptions and 1,000 yards receiving in 2 of his 3 years there, he was a little known receiver entering the NFL Draft (he also wore #27 there…weird). The Steelers, in their keen wide receiver foresight, took a flyer on the 5-10, 180 lb Brown with the 195th overall pick in the 6th round of the 2010 Draft.

Things certainly weren’t easy for him in black and gold initially. As the second receiver chosen in his draft class with Emmanuel Sanders being selected in the 3rd round first, how could they be?

The Steelers had three young receivers trying to make their way in the league…Brown, Sanders and Mike Wallace. These three soon developed a working relationship and dubbed themselves as “Young Money.”

Now, according to this video from Fox, Brown was “Cash Money” but according to 93.7 The Fan’s own Jim Colony, who says he was on the ground floor of the “Young Money” creation, Brown called himself “Turk.”

Apparently Brown’s inspiration for that name came from the rapper “Turk” who was jailed at the time. Brown likened himself to being locked up in some sort of way because of all the names ahead of him in the Steelers WR group.

His quote to Jim back in 2010: “As soon as I get out…it’s on.”

He was known as a relentless worker, always the last one to leave the practice field. At one point, then offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said the battle between he and Emmanuel Sanders was like “two dogs, one bone.” Brown remembers those days and even mentioned it in an Instagram post earlier this year after Arians criticized him for not being the guy he was back then.

Bruce Arians said he’s a special team guy he caint learn the plays hots n sites. Not Smart Enough Coach T Bench me on a bye week ; said two dogs one bone. God bless em #putsomerestpectonmyname

A post shared by Antonio Brown (@ab) on

This phase had Antonio Brown just getting by as an NFL receiver.

Phase 2- “Ronald Ocean”

Who knows where this nickname came from?  It was more than a nickname; it was an alter ego, really.

But I characterize this phase as the fun Antonio Brown.

Brown still had his work ethic, but his personality showed. He would get flagged every once in a while for inappropriate celebrations but he always showed up to play.

This is also when Brown was fully established as one of the best receivers in the league, as “Ronald Ocean” burst on the scene during an All-Pro 2016 season in which he racked 1,284 yards and 12 TD’s.  

Check out this gem from Boomin Productions:

Brown was all smiles. Brown was fun. Brown was really, really good. Dependable, too.

Phase 3- “AB” or “AB84”

The brand was set and was “Boomin.” His social media followers were off the charts. His smiling face was everywhere. He was on the cover of Madden NFL 17.

His brand was so big that he got himself in trouble after the Steelers playoff win against the Chiefs when he decided to broadcast on Facebook Live in the locker room after the game, catching Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger’s impassioned speeches to the team about the Patriots coming up next.

That was the first sign that maybe AB was growing too fast.

Things didn’t get better from there, as Brown proceeded to have his own camera crew with him at all times, show up to training camp in a helicopter, lash out on social media to reporters and get caught up in some legal issues.

93.7 The Fan’s Josh Rowntree did a great job recapping all of those things a few months ago.

It all came to a head when Brown walked out of practice mid-week before the Steelers Week 17 game against the Bengals, went AWOL the rest of the week and didn’t play on Sunday. He then walked off from the sidelines at halftime in his mink coat.

Maybe the brand had engulfed him completely. Maybe it was the threat of the brand shrinking (JuJu). Maybe he just lost his mind.

But what came next is not pretty.

Phase 4- “Mr. Big Chest”

Brown continued to go AWOL and spout off on social media, making cameos with familiar Steelers foes like James Harrison during Mike Tomlin’s end-of-year press conference and Chad Johnson while smoking cigars in Florida.

Brown finally agreed to communicate with the Steelers and met with Steelers president Art Rooney II in Florida where he formally requested a trade.

But not before he filmed himself on an elliptical machine telling other NFL teams…

“If your team got guaranteed money, tell ‘em call me. AB can’t do no more un-guarantees so we’re clear. I want to try to be clear and understand something. This is not a game, people.”

That was also the death of the “AB” phase, as a new one was ushered in during the video….

“Call me Mr. Big Chest! Big Chest Brown from now on.”

That brings us to present day where Mr. Big Chest is making his way out of Pittsburgh, photoshoping himself in other team’s uniforms and airing all this grievances with the organization on social media along the way.

What phase comes next? Who knows.  But, the Steelers won’t likely be a part of it.

And that’s a good thing.

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