Anything feels possible with Antonio Brown, who’s coming off a five-year stretch that reset the game’s standard for open-field playmaking. In his 20s, Brown used his breathtaking footwork to create separation in the discussion of the game’s best modern wide receiver. He’s made the 100-catch season more a ho-hum expectation than an achievement. On July 10, he turns 30, a number often stigmatized in an increasingly youth-centric game. But if Brown avoids injury, dips into Larry Fitzgerald‘s longevity tub and really wants to chase all of Jerry Rice’s stats, maybe he’s just getting started.
What he’s done by 30
Flips into the end zone. Helmet catches. Enough insanely difficult sideline plays to earn the nickname “Tony Toe-Tap.” The diverse arsenal of playmaking helped Brown become the best sixth-round pick, save Tom Brady. Consistency drives Brown’s greatness. In 2017, he set an NFL record with a fifth straight 100-catch season — and made a compelling MVP case with 1,533 yards — despite a Week 15 calf injury that ended his regular season. No other player holds two of the top 10 performances in NFL history for single-season receiving yards. His hands rarely disappoint. Steelers quarterbacks have thrown Brown’s way 512 times since 2015, against every type of coverage, and Brown has seven drops during that span. He lines up all over the field. He can beat man. He can beat zone. And he loves making contested catches. “Grab that,” says Brown when asked about his mentality when the ball is in the air.
|Yards after catch||3,488||Third|
|* Larry Fitzgerald (1,171); ** Julio Jones 39, Calvin Johnson 37|