Former NFL All-Pro Antonio Brown now part owner of Albany Empire

ALBANY – If the goal for the Albany Empire is to bring more championship trophies to the MVP Arena, they believe the changes they announced on Thursday represents a giant stride toward returning them to the promised land.

“This is a championship culture and I’m excited to be a part of it,” said Antonio Brown, the former All-Pro wide receiver with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who was announced Thursday as a the co-owner of the Albany Empire.

DIGITAL EXTRA: NewsChannel 13’s Rodger Wyland interviews Antonio Brown and Eddie Brown

Over the course of 12 NFL seasons, Brown gained more than 12,000 yards and scored 83 touchdowns. He also possesses a coveted Super Bowl ring.

Now that his playing days are over, he says he’s 100% committed to his new position as a team owner.

“That’s what life is about,” Brown said, “Growing, transitioning. You can’t play football forever. Football is a short stint in our life and what we do in the game prepares you for opportunities like this where you can help others give back.”

During the 1990s, “Touchdown” Eddie Brown, Antonio’s father, was in the midst of becoming a local football legend for the Albany Firebirds, the forerunner of the Empire. Antonio was growing up at the time in the Albany area. Now Eddie will work for the Empire as the team’s Vice President of Football Operations.

“It’s always a good thing to watch my kids develop and do well,” Eddie stated, “I’ll put them over myself any time. I just try to make sure I instill the work ethic and the drive in them to be successful at what ever they decide to do in their lives.”

Combining Eddie’s glory years with Antonio’s management years ahead, current owner Mike Qwarta sees as a winning game plan.

“We don’t own the Empire to make money and feed the family,” Qwarta stressed, “It’s about the community and keeping something here so to be able to do it, fast track it now, get them involved, get the community and the crowds back with us, it’ll be absolutely phenomenal.”

Rodger Wyland first reported this Wednesday evening on NewsChannel 13.

Season tickets for the Empire are on sale now. the home opener is set for April 16th.