By Eric Arbore
Thousands of fans flocked to Saint Vincent College over the weekend as the Steelers had their first practices in pads. While the public populated the bleachers of Chuck Noll Field and hill in front of Saint Benedict Hall, the team practiced primarily on the turf field. With many fans visiting the Steelers Experience and others shopping at the merchandise tent, the public had plenty of entertainment including the spirited practice.
One player that stood out the entire weekend was third year wide receiver Antonio Brown. Wearing the Hines Ward-trademarked tape nameplate on his helmet, the young star seemed to make every catch in spectacular fashion.
“(Being back at camp) is exciting,” said Brown after practice on Friday. “This is where the work begins. This is where the journey begins, and this is where you build the foundation for the season.”
Brown made headlines shortly after leaving the field that day when it was announced that he had signed a five-year, $42.5 million extension. With holdout Mike Wallace still seeking a long term deal, the Steelers decided to lock up Brown and avoid the young receiver hitting free agency at the end of the season.
“(Brown) has played a major role in our success over the past two years,” said Kevin Colbert, Steelers’ General Manager. “We are thrilled he will be a Steeler for many years to come.”
The former sixth-round pick out of Central Michigan vowed that the extension would not shake his focus on the upcoming season or this training camp.
“What’s important is me focusing on getting ready for training camp, getting on the same page, learning the offense and getting ready for the year,” said Brown.
Brown, who used the 2010 training camp to show coaches that he belonged on the roster, is a hard worker in each practice.
“The first season when he practiced and you’d see a ball in the air, and then he’d be coming down with it against our starting defense,” said Colbert. “You knew this kid was going to have a pretty good career.”
When asked what his favorite part of training camp at Saint Vincent College was, the third-year pro said, “Just the check-in, the work, the whole process, the fans and just the big overall amazing experience to come back with your teammates,” said Brown. “Just to build the camaraderie with the team and how many fans and support that we got from Steeler Nation is amazing.”
Eric Arbore is a senior Communication major from Derry, PA.