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Old 09-09-2010, 11:16 PM   #1
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Default Steelers Brown could make immediate impact

Steelers Brown could make immediate impact
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Thursday September 9, 2010 11:58 PM

PITTSBURGH — Sixth-round draft picks seldom make an immediate impact in the NFL. But on Sunday, Antonio Brown might be the first player to touch the football for the Steelers when they open the season on Sunday.

If the Steelers receive the opening kickoff, Brown will drop deep to receive it.

“That’s really cool,” said Brown, a 22-year-old wide receiver out of Central Michigan. “That was my goal when they drafted me. My goal wasn’t just to be on this team. My goal was to be out there on Sundays and contributing any way I can.”

As a third-team wideout, Brown may not get a chance to catch any passes against Atlanta. But he will return both kickoffs and punts.

“He’s one of those natural guys at fielding punts and kickoffs,” Steelers wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery said.

While in college, Brown was also a natural catching passes.

Last year as a junior, he ranked fourth in Division I-FBS with 110 receptions. That’s 12 more catches than Emmanuel Sanders had at SMU, and Sanders was picked in the third round by the Steelers.

With 305 career catches, Brown ranks second in Mid-American Conference history.

But Brown was nearly as famous at Central Michigan as a kick return specialist. The two-time MAC special teams player of the year returned five kicks for touchdowns (three on punts and two on kickoffs).
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“Returning is my specialty,” said Brown, who turned pro after his junior season. “I love doing that. And I don’t care of if it’s punts or kickoffs. I love doing both. However I can touch the ball, I’m all for it. I want to help this team any way I can.”

Brown, who lives in Miami, Fla., was drafted by the Steelers after they re-acquired cornerback Bryant McFadden in a trade with Arizona. In that deal, the Steelers traded away a fifth-round pick for McFadden and the Cardinals’ sixth-round pick. With that pick, the Steelers took Brown.

Even though Stefan Logan was solid as the Steelers’ return specialist last year, he lost his roster spot to Brown.

Brown wasn’t spectacular in the preseason as a kick returner, but he did score on a 68-yard pass reception in the preseason game against Detroit.

“He’s just an exceptional player with the football in his hands,” Montgomery said.

On Sunday, Brown hopes to get his hands on the ball as often as possible.

“I’m so excited,” he said. “I’m a rookie but I want to make an impact. The preseason prepped me for this. I believe in myself. The coaches believe in me. My teammates believe in me. I pride myself on being good on special teams. I feel I’m the right man for the job.” ((Good attitude - mesa)
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