Antonio Brown's odd interview expresses frustration: 'I'm constantly under pressure’

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Frank Schwab
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Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown is not happy. What’s he angry about? That’s a bit more complicated.

Brown vented to the media at his locker on Tuesday, but it’s still not entirely clear what he was venting about. He talked about not being able to properly express himself to the media, and getting his words twisted. He said when he didn’t show up to voluntary OTA sessions, he was thinking about his priorities.

“I had to take some time off to spend time with my family to see what’s important for me,” Brown said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Brown clearly wasn’t happy with many issues.

“I can’t seem to get away from the pressure”

The media coverage of Brown clearly has touched a nerve.

He said a throwaway comment about Le’Veon Bell’s holdout became a big story. He randomly griped about former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on Instagram, and that became a story. Speculation about why he was missing OTAs was a story too. All of this happens when you’re one of the league’s biggest stars.

Brown also said he has no freedom away from the game, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, which is an odd claim from someone who made Facebook Live famous in NFL circles.

“I can’t seem to get away from the pressure,” Brown said (h/t to Kaboly for posting the video).

Brown wonders, “What am I playing this game for?”

Aside from complaints about the trappings of fame, Brown seemed to have a lot on his mind in terms of the big picture.

“What am I playing this game for? To acquire records, for who?” Brown said. “When I’m done playing, they won’t remember what my stats were in 2016 or what my stats were in 2015. Those are the things I have to clear my mind of, getting away from the game, because a lot of issues this game presents that you guys don’t really cover.”

While Brown, who is on track to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will be remembered by NFL fans long after he’s gone, he doesn’t seem to buy that. He got philosophical about why he’s playing football.

“This is a tough time, the times we live, when you start thinking about it from the perspective of my kids, the time I miss from their lives, with me being away and they’re down in Florida,” Brown said, according to the Tribune-Review. “I started to think about what’s important, if I’m playing football to make a lot of money? Or am I playing football to take care of my family? Those are some of the decisions I think about when I don’t come here every day.”

Brown doesn’t feel he can express himself

While it’s a mystery what Brown was really trying to say, things got strange when — in front of reporters with notebooks and cameras ready to broadcast his every word to millions of fans — Brown said he couldn’t express himself.

“I started to think to myself ‘Am I really free?’ I can’t really express myself in this game,” Brown said, according to the Tribune-Review. “I can’t really tell you guys how I feel. You guys put pressure on me all the time. Am I really free? I go to ask myself that in regards to taking away time from my kids. I had to get away to free my mind.

“As a player you have to start expressing things to get it out of your head. I think the more you bottle stuff up and don’t express yourself, that’s where these players have problems. But we don’t talk about the players who don’t play anymore, the guys who can’t remember anything because their whole careers they were taught to hold stuff in. We can’t really express ourselves at this level.”

While it’s a bit mind-bending to think players are having trouble after football because they would “bottle stuff up” and not express themselves, Brown probably does have a point that the NFL players do have to bite their tongues, since teams act like professional football is a military endeavor. Still, he’s one of the few players with the stature to say whatever he wants. What are the Steelers really going to do, cut him?

The entire meandering rant was a bit hard to follow, and it’s unclear what message Brown wanted to get across, other than being unhappy with some coverage of him. But at least Brown wasn’t keeping things bottled in anymore.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown had a lot to get off his chest to the local media. (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown had a lot to get off his chest to the local media. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!