Steelers Sixth Round Pick Nearly Quit Football

Antoine Brooks returned from injury to be All-Big 10

Jeff Hathhorn
April 25, 2020 - 7:17 pm
Antoine Brooks Maryland

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – He spent nearly an hour lying on a high school field as the bone attaching his ankle to his leg stuck out of his skin while his wrist was also broken.  Senior Antoine Brooks thought seriously about never playing football again.

The Lanham, Maryland star would spend a week in the hospital thinking he may not play the game again, saying it was really close.  Wondering what he should do.

“I didn’t want to be that person that almost made it,” Brooks said.  “Or be that person that could have made it, and just didn’t go because of injuries.  I didn’t want that to be the outcome.  Now I’m proud because I’m here where I’m at now.”

He went from being a highly thought of quarterback, to being a two-star defensive player and signed with his home-state Maryland Terrapins.

After six games as a freshman at Maryland, came 11 starts and All-Big 10 honors in his sophomore year. As a junior, Brooks led Maryland with 9.5 tackles for loss and was Second Team All-Big 10.  Finally in his last year, Brooks led the Big 10 with 5.8 solo tackles per game while leading the team in stops, was the team MVP and again Second Team all-conference.

Brooks says he works on tackling and getting his body in the right position and gets his head across.

“I can’t lose one-on-one battles,” Brooks said.  “I would be terribly upset if I lost that battle.”

Steelers senior defensive assistant Teryl Austin believes Brooks will be a factor on special teams and they will see how he picks up the defense and adjusts to this level when figuring out where he fits on defense.  But Brooks will be a safety with the Steelers.

“Really good physical player, plays a little bit everywhere,” Austin said.  “You’ll see him play in the box, see him play out on the slot, you’ll see him back some.  The biggest thing I like about him he was around the ball.  He’s going to be there, where ever that ball is he is going to show up.  He’s very, very physical.”

“He has a really good feel for the game when it comes to instincts and making quick decisions and not being afraid to make decisions.”

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