Steelers notebook: Brown named team MVP for third time
December 30, 2015 1:41 PM
Steelers' WR Antonio Brown during a practice last month at the team's facility on the South Side.
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown became the fourth player in franchise history to be named team MVP three times. Brown, who also won in 2011 and 2013, got the nod in a vote by his teammates.
Brown joins Hall of Famers Rod Woodson and Jerome Bettis in addition to fellow receiver Hines Ward as the only others to achieve that feat.
“Anytime you’re mentioned with that caliber of players, you’re always thankful,” Brown said. “They’re Hall of Fame-type players. You know what those guys meant to the Steelers organization.”
Brown is in the midst of what could be the best season of his six-year career. He needs just seven catches and 52 receiving yards to set the team record for most receptions and most receiving yards in a season. He would break his own records he set last season when he had 129 catches for 1,698 yards.
“It’s humbling,” Brown said. “It’s a team game. It takes more than one guy to will a team to win. I’m just thankful the guys chose me.”
Brown etched himself a place in the NFL record books, as well. He became the first player in league history to record 16 catches in a game twice in the same season. He had 17 receptions for 284 yards against Oakland and 16 receptions for 189 yards against Denver, which had the No. 1 defense in the league entering the game.
Cleveland coach Mike Pettine said Wednesday Brown should be in the running for NFL MVP.
“I think Antonio Brown should be in consideration not just for the best receiver in football, but for MVP,” Pettine said. “He’s having that kind of a special year.”
The Steelers will not have to face Cleveland quarterback Johnny Manziel for a second time this season after all. Manziel reported to work Wednesday with concussion-like symptoms and entered the league’s concussion protocol.
Late Wednesday night, Cleveland.com reported he would miss the regular season finale. That would be a big break for the Steelers, who watched Manziel throw for 372 yards in a losing effort last month at Heinz Field.
Austin Davis is set to start in his place. He has played in two games this season and started one, a 37-3 loss to the Bengals earlier this month. He completed 66 percent of his passes for 230 yards and threw an interception in that game.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did not practice Wednesday because he was sick. Others missing practice were linebacker James Harrison (illness), receiver Martavis Bryant (illness), cornerback Antwon Blake (back) and safety Mike Mitchell (shoulder).
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.
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