Steelers' Antonio Brown says Vontaze Burfict was trying to 'kill me, steal my dreams'
February 4, 2016 10:52 AM
Antonio Brown lay on the field after taking a hit from the Bengals' Cincinnati's Vontaze Burfict at Paul Brown Stadium.
John Minchillo/Associated Press
Cincinnati Bengals' Vontaze Burfict, far right, runs into Antonio Brown during the teams' wild-card playoff football game on Jan. 10.
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict was hoping to intimidate Antonio Brown when he leveled the Steelers’ All-Pro receiver with a late hit in an AFC wild-card game last month, he didn’t get his desired result. The hit that forced Brown to miss the next week’s playoff game in Denver is only serving to motivate Brown as he prepares for the 2016 season.
“I feel like guys don’t want to stop me no more,” Brown said Thursday morning when he made an appearance on the Cook and Poni Show on 93.7 The Fan. “They want to take me out. They want to kill me. They want to steal my dreams. They want to ruin me. They want to end me. We’re not going to let them. We’re going to win more.”
It was Brown’s first public comments since the hit and the resulting concussion, which ended his season. The Steelers lost to the Broncos, 23-16, in the AFC division-round game one week later.
Burfict was suspended for the first three games of next season for that hit and others during the course of the 2015 season. One month earlier, in a regular-season game in Cincinnati, Burfict appeared to try to injure Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger when he dived at his knees well after Roethlisberger had delivered a pass. He also spit on several Steelers in the playoff game, according to All-Pro guard David DeCastro.
When asked if Burfict was saying those types of things on the field, Brown replied: “Every guy talks, man. When you do something like that, you hit a guy after the play, a defenseless guy in the helmet. There are a lot of things that aren’t right about that.”
Brown also had a terse reply when asked if he had any interaction with Jones, the Bengals cornerback who claimed Brown was faking the injury. Jones said he would apologize to Brown if Brown could not play against the Broncos, which he did on social media, but Brown wasn’t pleased that Jones made his claim.
“The guy texted me,” Brown said. “No reply. I don’t even know why people give him the platform. Ridiculous.”
Brown said he was never close to being cleared to play against the Broncos.
“I didn’t have a chance,” he said. “Man, I wish I could have been out there with my teammates. I’m living with regrets that we could have been in the Super Bowl.”
He said his symptoms never abated that week.
“Seventy percent of your vision holds your balance,” Brown said. “I had no energy, bad balance, dizziness, headaches. I wouldn’t have been able to play.”
Brown said he started to feel better the following Friday and was then cleared by doctors five days later, but it was unclear if he would have been able to play in the AFC championship had the Steelers advanced.
Brown also had an interesting reply when asked if he’ll be rooting for Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders, his former teammate, in Super Bowl 50.
“No way,” he said. “I mean I want him to do well, but I don’t want to see him get a Super Bowl ring because that’s something I have to live with during the offseason, him throwing rings in my face. That’s not something I’m trying to hear.”
Sanders and Brown were part of the same draft class in 2010 and played in Super Bowl XLV as rookies. Sanders was a third-round pick. Brown a sixth-round pick.
NOTE — The Steelers signed receivers Issac Blakeney and Tobais Palmer and cornerbacks Montell Garner and Al-hajj Shabazz to futures contracts.
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